Tempers Flare At Natomas School Board Meeting

Tempers flared Wednesday night at a Natomas Unified School District board meeting where media coverage of contract negotiations proved to be such a hot topic, the meeting was stopped at one point.

“This is so symptomatic of the problems we are facing,” said parent Joe Julio about the temporary disruption. Bankruptcy proceedings for the financially troubled school district started last week.

Outgoing school board president B. Teri Burns came under fire during the public comment portion of the meeting for comments made in a news article about the need for a math teacher at contract negotiations. Things got heated when Natomas High English teacher Patrick Crean kept talking beyond the three-minute time limit and refused to stop, bolstered by members of the audience.

The disruption led Burns to call an abrupt recess during which she and the other board members left the meeting room. A telephone call was made to law enforcement, but quickly canceled and the meeting resumed within minutes.

“It is always concerning when it appears that the situation is escalating and going to get out of hand,” said Superintendent Bobbie Plough.

Plough said the board has to follow its policies and rules for public comment presentations, agreeing the timer used to help limit public remarks had not been used consistently during the meeting. The district is in the process of negotiating employee contracts with hopes of concessions that could halt the bankruptcy process and prevent a state takeover.

Crean’s comments were echoed by the teachers’ union president Cynthia Connell and some parents at the meeting.

“I’m definitely trying to build bridges,” said Plough of the disruption. “It’s my hope those things will be few and far between. It’s a difficult time for everyone.”

A handful of people remained in the audience when at the end of the meeting, during board member reports, Burns apologized for her “flip comments being taken out of context.”
Said new board president Bruce Roberts, “These issue are a concern to all of us – parents, teachers and board members – we all care about our kids.”

The Sacramento County Office of Education will hold two public meetings 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 14 to explain the process and time line related to the possible state takeover. Both meetings will be held in the Natomas High School Theater, 3301 Fong Ranch Road.

Negotiations with the classified workers’ union will resume the next day on Dec. 15 and the teachers’ union is schedule to be back at the bargaining table on Dec. 16.


  1. The School Board’s bias is disgusting to me. They let two community members ramble on for 4 1/2 minutes and 6 minutes, one not even on point! But when it came to a teacher criticizing Teri Burns, she couldn’t take the heat and created the little episode that ensued. She could have let him go on for those same 4 1/2 minutes or 6 minutes, and heard him out. After all, this is one of the people from whom she is asking a minimum of $5000 so that she can continue to make costly, ill-informed decisions! For an incumbent with a 20 vote advantage in the school board race, she sure is arrogant.

  2. I couldn’t agree with you more Cynthia! I am wondering why the Natomas community re-elected these Board members when they had the opportunity to get rid of them. Big mistake people!

    The School Board and the District is bias. They will let anyone ramble on for as long as they want, but if you put someone up there that makes them accountable then suddenly the rules apply…interesting.

    If you ask me, the Natomas got themselves into this mess with shady practices and now they need to get themselves out of it and quit doing it on the back of employees who are already getting paid less than the average employee at other local districts.

    Shame on you Bobbie Plough and Board Members for not watching your check book and spending more money that you have and spending it on frivolous items.

    Put all your assistant sups back to directors and take back the raise that you gave them for nothing! Moreover, stop giving management title changes and raises for the last year that they are at the district to only increase their PERS retirement…I don’t see you doing that favor for Cert or Class. You made the mess…now you clean it up!

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