By Robert Haugh
The Santa Clara Unified School District has been in the press a lot lately. That’s because of Santa Clara City Councilman Dominic Caserta. He’s also a teacher at Santa Clara High School and has been accused of sexual harassment and improper behavior with his students and young campaign workers.
Now, there’s some more controversy created by SCUSD Board of Trustees President Noelani Pearl Hunt.
A few weeks ago, she made an appearance at the Santa Clara County Democratic Party to “speak against the white power structure in the city of Santa Clara and their racist system,” according to multiple people who attended the meeting.
This is interesting because Hunt was appointed to Santa Clara’s 2016 Charter Review Committee. That group discussed creating districts in the city to help minority candidates. But they decided to keep the current system.
Hunt only attended the first introductory meeting and missed dozens of other ones and didn’t participate at all, according to a city staffer. When she had her chance to do something in 2016, she didn’t show up.
Recently, Santa Clarans received a robocall from Hunt opposing Measure A. That’s the measure on the June ballot that will create two districts in Santa Clara. It also may allow for ranked-choice voting if the technology is available in the future. Measure A opponents don’t think it helps minority candidates enough.
We got some complaints about Hunt’s robocall. So we tried to get some info. Hunt did not respond to our inquiry.
But another SCUSD Trustee, Andy Ratermann, did. Here’s what Ratermann told us:
“She identified herself as the President of the Santa Clara Board of Education. Nowhere in the call did she indicate that this was a personal opinion, which left me with the opinion that she was speaking for the school district.”
Is she allowed to do that? No, according to Ratermann:
“The SCUSD school board has not agendized nor discussed Santa Clara Measure A. As such, the school district does not have a position on this measure. A school board member has no authority on their own. ”
Looks like Hunt may have created another controversy for the district to deal with.
In the summer of 2016, 10 Buscher Middle School teachers wrote a letter to the community saying they were concerned about “a stunning breach of ethics” by Hunt who was then named Noelani Sallings, for an alleged extramarital affair with a Buchser teacher’s husband. Ouch. That’s a really unusual move for teachers.
Thanks to Hunt, Caserta isn’t the only controversial person associated with SCUSD these days.
Editor’s Note: Thanks to astute readers, we corrected the date hunt served on the Charter Review Committee.