Critical Mass: Do You Trust The School Board?

52016_bot_group_photo_for_webOver the course of this series we have discussed the various laws applicable to our overcrowding issues, our single funding source and even touched on the issue of how the perception of the school board has affected the discussions surrounding overcrowding.

What we haven’t really talked about is the board itself.

Officially the “Washoe County School Board of Trustees” consists of seven elected officials, chosen by their districts in a general election. At the time of what I like to call “The Pedro Incident” the board consisted of Barbara Clark, Barbara McLaury, Estela Gutierrez and John Mayer who had been serving on the board since 2011 and before. Lisa Ruggerio, David Aiazzi, and Howard Rosenberg had joined the board in 2012.

In the immediate backlash of “The Pedro Incident” both Clark and Gutierrez were swiftly replaced with newcomers (CLARIFICATION:  Gutierrez chose not to run for re-election), Veronica Frenkel and Nick Smith. Smith resigned earlier this year amidst the controversy of his involvement with a high school student. Shortly after, Smith was also fired from Sizzler, according to the parent company Sizzling Platter, because they had “zero tolerance…regarding harassment…inappropriate behavior…vulgar language”. Between 2014 and now, both Aiazzi and McLaury resigned and this November, Ruggerio and Rosenberg are exiting stage right. Only Mayer remains.

Four trustee seats are being filled this November with only one incumbent running.

Why is this important? A new broom sweeps clean as they say and the candidates running for those seats are members of your community. Concern over the board’s “responsibility” is also in our own hands come November. When discussing our funding issue and “trust” is addressed, it all comes down to who DO you trust? How closely are you looking at the candidates? What do you know about them?

Three Area Schools Place in Top-10 of Nevada Ranking

How much do “they” know about their roles and about their limitations? Even though the board in 2017 will not be doling out the money if WC1 passes, they will be the board figuring out what happens next if it doesn’t.

Choose wisely.

Critical Mass is a series that addresses questions, myths, misinformation, state statutes, the school district and the 2016 bond initiative that will appear on the November 2016 ballot. Read the complete series.


About Michelle Beck 12 Articles
Michelle is a native Nevadan that grew up in Reno and has lived in Sparks for the last 20 years. She has 10 years experience as a volunteer and leader with several children's and parental organizations, four years on the Nevada State PTA executive board and two years as a member of the WCSD Parent Involvement Council. She has written articles for state and national PTA as well as two local magazines. She now runs a home business, fundraises for local charities, is a cheer mom and mother of a soon to be freshman at UNLV.


  1. Wow. “Swiftly replaced” is misleading. I decided not to run for another term and had announced 6 months before the Pedro Martinez incident. Was proud to have supported Veronica Frenkel! We need to make sure that statements are accurate around this subject…..I think that adds to the trust factor!

    • Just a case of poor choice of words by Michelle Beck to describe Estela’s departure. It alludes to wrongdoing on Estela’s part which is inaccurate.
      Estela was already planning to leave the school board prior to the Pedro Martinez incident, was out of town attending a conference when the incident occurred, and didn’t know it was going to happen since it was not on the agenda.
      Estela always did things correctly when she served the community as school board member.

    • Clarification – I did not state in the article whether or not either candidate ran for re-election. Clark did run. Gutierrez did not.

      I apologize if my choice of wording was misleading. In all actuality, I personally do not think there was any “wrongdoing” overall with the board at the that time, just a mistake. By my research, the decision to remove Martinez was the right one.

      In the interest of the overall subject of this series, my focus was more on the feeling of distrust the public has for the entity of the school board itself and how it is affecting the consideration of WC1.

      The intent of the phrase was more to point out the public’s response in how quickly they considered or vetted new candidates. It also had to be within aspecific word limit.

      Intent of the article was that distrust over past perceived wrongdoing has no bearing on the overall subject – overcrowding and Washoe’s need for funding Capital Projects.

Comments are closed.