Monday, January 6, 2014

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Proposes Campaign Fundraising Reform at School and College Districts in Wake of South Bay Scandals

Gonzalez’s First Act in 2014 Legislative Year is To Propose Ban on School & College Board Fundraising by District Superintendents & Administrators

SAN DIEGO – (Monday, Jan. 6, 2014) – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) will kick off the 2014 legislative session by introducing legislation to ban School and College District superintendents and administrators from raising campaign cash for the board members that they serve.

Under the legislation, administrators at California’s public school districts and community college districts would be prohibited from soliciting contributions on behalf of the campaigns and legal defense funds of candidates and incumbent board members that govern those districts. Violators would be subject to penalties assessed by the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission.

That practice – alleged in several of the ongoing corruption cases involving officials at southern San Diego County’s Sweetwater Union High School District, San Ysidro School District and Southwestern College – created a troublesome dynamic between staff and board members at those districts. In the allegations, administrators raised money for their board members from contractors with business before their districts, allowing them to exert inappropriate influence over their own job security with the boards that hired them as well as the process for selecting contractors to rebuild and revamp the districts’ campuses.

“These corruption cases have become a huge distraction to our goal of improving public education opportunities in the South Bay, and the common thread in these cases is that administrators were improperly acting as political moneymen for board members’ campaigns,” Gonzalez said. “Besides the pay-to-play nature of the corruption allegations in the South Bay, it’s just as offensive that school and college board members could become so beholden to their own senior employees. The administrators are supposed to carry out the wishes of the board members, not the other way around.”

Assemblywoman Gonzalez made the announcement Monday as the California State Assembly was reconvening for the 2014 legislative session in the State Capitol.

“If we are going to advance the public education systems that our communities depend upon to teach California’s workforce of the future, than it’s my duty as a legislature to do what I can to make sure that remains the focus of these school and college districts.”

To interview Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, please contact Evan McLaughlin at (619) 850-2790 or (916) 319-2080.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents the 80th Assembly District, which includes Chula Vista, National City and the San Diego neighborhoods of City Heights, Barrio Logan, Paradise Hills, San Ysidro and Otay Mesa. For more information, visit


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