School district, trustee continue contentious court battle

School district, trustee continue contentious court battle
Escondido Union School District Board of Trustee member Jose Fragozo speaks with his attorney, Laura Farris, on Jan. 8 before a hearing at the Vista Superior Court regarding a temporary restraining order filed by the district against Fragozo. Photo by Steve Puterski

VISTA — More than one month later and the court wrangling continues.

About six hours of testimony was heard on Friday at the Vista Superior Court in the ongoing legal saga between the Escondido Union School District and Board of Trustee Jose Fragozo. After litigating throughout the day, the case was continued one week.

This marks the third day in total of witnesses taking the stand — the first two in December — in the contentious battle between district administrators and Fragozo.

Superintendent Luis Rankins-Ibarra filed a temporary restraining order against Fragozo on Dec. 2, 2015. The trustee has been barred from district facilities since then, while the court will determine whether to uphold the order.

The order protects Rankins-Ibarra, Deputy Superintendent Leila Sackfield and Assisatant Superintendents Kelly Prins and Kevin Rubow.

EUSD Trustee Paulette Donnellon also released a statement in December in support of Rankins-Ibarra to, “ensure a safe and secure working environment.”

The superintendent, who is in his second year, claims Fragozo had become hostile to the point of issuing threats and putting staff in fear of their safety.

Fragozo, meanwhile, claims he has not made threats or acted in any aggressive manner toward the staff or board of trustees.

In previous media reports, Fragozo said he was upset the board voted to change its way of selecting a new president. Prior to last year, the selection of a president was on a rotating system, however, the board voted to change the process to an election in the fall.

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