School Board to Discuss Investigation Into Board Member Misconduct Thursday

At its meeting on Thursday, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education is set to hear the results of a months-long investigation into potential wrongdoing by board members.

Two months ago, news broke of potential conflicts of interest in Santa Monica School Board votes over the past several years—with an investigation focusing on board member Maria Leon-Vazquez as well as Ralph Mechur and Oscar de la Torre.

“Concerns about conflict issues were recently raised that the school board and district administration take very seriously,” according to an agenda report published on the school district’s website.

“The district launched an internal investigation into these concerns with the support of legal counsel, Fagen, Friedman and Fulfrost, and will report the results to the Board of Education at this meeting.”

The discussion item will allow the seven-member board of education to hear the summary and recommendations as well as discuss next steps.

“In order to avoid actual or perceived conflicts in the future and to continue to ensure the public’s trust is earned and maintained, additional direction to conduct further review of board policies and regulations and training for board members and senior staff will be discussed,” according to the agenda.


The public portion of the Thursday, Jan. 18, school board meeting will begin at 6 p.m. with the 40-minute discussion item scheduled for “a time certain” of 6 p.m. The meeting will take place at the district offices at 1651 16th Street in Santa Monica.

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