Stockton Unified Trustee Candelaria Vargas announced her resignation on Friday. In her statement she outlined a series of troubling issues and unlawful activity from her fellow Board Members.
On Friday June 18, 2021, Candelaria Vargas officially resigned from her position as Stockton Unified Board of Education Trustee. Her resignation statement was written on Google Docs and shared to her social media accounts.
In her statement, Mrs. Vargas says she chose to resign because her work and commute is taking too much time away from her family. “I am a former foster child and my spouse immigrated as an unaccompanied minor, so we know too well the pains of being separated and apart from our families at a very young age and do not wish that for our children,” she writes in her statement. Mrs. and Mr. Vargas are choosing to move closer to her job at Daily Kos in Oakland, CA which requires her to resign from her post as Area 7 Trustee. Each Stockton Unified School District Board of Education Trustee must reside within the district they represent.
The resignation statement also provides words of caution for the Stockton community. Mrs. Vargas states that the “majority board members” have reduced transparency by changing agendas last minute, choosing not to live stream meetings, and holding special meetings where important decisions are made with little notice to the public. She goes on to say staff have been harassed and retaliated against by board members for having dissenting opinions or for not complying with their unlawful decisions.
The majority board members Mrs. Vargas appears to be referring to include Board President and Area 1 Trustee Cecilia Mendez, Area 3 Alicia Rico, Board Clerk and Area 4 Trustee Ray Zulueta, Board Vice President and Area 5 Trustee Maria Mendez, and Area 6 Trustee Scot McBrian. Area 2 Trustee AngelAnn Flores and Area 7 Trustee Candelaria Vargas often vote together, and were both censured by the other five board members on February 9, 2021 for failing to support the board’s decisions, among other reasons. During the same meeting, the board voted 5-2 along the same lines to appoint Jon Ramirez Jr. as Interim Superintendent [Source: Stockton Record].
The two dissenting voices did not support the appointment of Jon Ramirez Jr. to Interim Superintendent as he has admitted to personally using district credit cards, and a sexual harassment complaint was filed by a former district employee while he worked at Alisal Union School District in Salinas, California. Ramirez Jr. replaced Interim Superintendent Brian Biedermann in February 2021, who replaced Superintendent John Deasy after his unexpected resignation in June of 2020.
Candelaria Vargas had been the Area 7 Trustee for the Stockton Unified School District since 2018. Her term was set to expire at the end of 2022. With the latest Census data from 2020, the school district boundaries will be redrawn so each district is closely related in population size. Those who run for trustee must live inside the district’s boundaries.
Conflict of Interest Notice: Hector Madrigal was involved in a SUSD Community Meeting in June of 2020 alongside San Joaquin County Together, a non-profit organization which Candelaria Vargas has also worked with to promote political messages in the county.