Escondido Union School District: Warning, vultures ahead

Jose Fragozo with supporter Carmen Miranda-Griffith at his 305 South Maple St. apartment.

(Editor’s Note: Embattled EUSD trustee Jose Fragozo was due back in Vista Superior Court on Wednesday, March 9 for a readiness hearing to see if his attorney Manuel Torres and San Diego County deputy district attorney Leon Schorr were ready to go to trial March 23 as set by arraigning Judge James A. Mangione. The state alleges Fragozo is guilty of 13 felony charges related to misrepresenting his residence in the election process for EUSD Board. The trial is expected to take two days.)

The vultures are circling round what they hope will soon be the corpse of Jose Fragozo as a member of the Escondido Union School District Board of Trustees.

Several attended last Thursday’s EUSD Board meeting. Marv Gilbert, who had been appointed to the Board when his wife, Carilyn Gilbert, died of cancer in 2005, then was elected in 2008 and served until 2012, said he had a good idea of what it takes to be a good board member.

Gilbert had listened to all the supporters of Jose Fragozo, and had noted that they often described him as passionate. I described those supporting remarks in previous blogs: and

Gilbert then gave an obscure definition of “passion” that he interpreted as an obstacle for civilized conduct that prevented Fragozo from being effective. He said Fragozo was only one of five board members, and would need the support of two others to accomplish any actions he wished the Board to take.

Gilbert said Fragozo  was aggressive and rude, behavior that made Fragozo completely ineffective. Fragozo had been indicted for thirteen felony violations, which did not set a good example. Gilbert ended by saying he supported the petition to the Board to demand Fragozo’s resignation.

You are probably familiar with the latest assault on Fragozo. D.A. Bonnie Dumanis’s office has charged him with being untruthful about his place of residence, the “13 felonies” all have to do with this.  You can read about it in detail at: As noted in the Grapevine, EUSD Board President Joan Gardner had asked the California Secretary of State’s office to investigate the matter in 2012. The Secretary of State, passed.

Another previous member of the EUSD Board also spoke. Royce Moore served on the Board for two terms from 2002 to 2010. Moore said that he had, for several months, had an opinion that Fragozo needed to resign. So he decided to post a petition demanding Fragozo’s resignation, on line. He boasted that he had obtained 250 signatures on his petition in a very short time. He insisted Fragozo’s resignation was to do “what’s right”.

Royce Moore ran for re-election in 2010 as an incumbent. He was the only incumbent to lose his seat. Seeing him brought back the memory of why he probably lost that election. On Oct. 25, 2010, the League of Women Voters and the Escondido Council of PTA’s hosted a EUSD Board Candidate forum. It was moderated by another past member of the EUSD Board, the amazing Vivian Doering, who succumbed to breast cancer in 2011, a great loss to the community.

As usual with a LWV forum, questions from the audience are written. One of those questions was something to the effect of “what would you do to motivate teachers (and/or?) students?” As I remember it, Moore’s answer was basically that he didn’t consider it his duty to motivate anyone other than himself.

There was almost an audible gasp in the audience at that point. The forum was held in the Turrentine room of the Escondido Public Library. The room was almost at capacity. The audience was not a bunch of liberals, but the usual WASP establishment types in Escondido. I think they and all those within their sphere of influence had decided that anyone who said what Moore said was not a suitable candidate for the EUSD Board.

There will be more and more pressure for Fragozo to resign. I hope he can hold on, because if he resigns, the rest of the Board will appoint someone who does not have his passion, or even any interest in helping English language learners. Then his replacement can run as an incumbent.

There have been rumors about who his appointed replacement should be. One is of a very attractive young woman, an intellectual featherweight, a sort of Marie Waldron wannabe. That would be a disaster.

 (Margaret McCown Liles started blogging about local politics and education  following the demise of the North County Times as a public resource. Story is reprinted by permission. Her most excellent blog with lots more is at

1 Comment on "Escondido Union School District: Warning, vultures ahead"

  1. As I understand it, all campuses in Escondido Union School District (EUSD) were evaluated in the West Ed Report prepared for the District in 2015. The Report defined a series of specific recommendations which stakeholders had hopes that EUSD would consider objectively. Those recommendations were written, as if they were to be applied citywide, and not exclusively in District 1 only, is that correct? If so, it seems the current EUSD litigation case pending against EUSD Trustee Jose Froagozo has been mischaracterized as an issue that is only applicable to District 1, and that causes concern, for academic opportunities for ELL students who attend EUSD campuses in Districts 2-4.
    Why are the performance and testing results for English Language Learners ELLs isolated, or confined so far, to boundaries of District 1, when the fundamental issues apply Citywide in Escondido? Thank you for consideration.

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