SUSD Board Approves Probe Into One of Its Trustees

The Stockton Unified School District Board of Education has approved an independent investigation into allegations of a conflict of interest by one of its trustees.

Lange P. Luntao of Area 4 worked at charter school Aspire Academy through May 2018. Almost a year after he left, while he was serving as president of the Stockton Unified school board, the board voted 7-0 in favor of adding six charter schools. Some members believe that may have presented a conflict of interest. They also point to Luntao's position as chief executive officer of Reinvent Stockton, which promotes charter schools. Reinvent Stockton is also led by Mayor Michael Tubbs who has said he supports a recall effort against two trustees, Scot McBrian and Maria Mendez.

McBrian and Mendez, Board President Kathy Garcia, and trustee Cecilia Mendez voted in favor of the investigation into Luntao’s actions. Luntao, AngelAnn Flores, and Candelaria Vargas voted no.

"I'm very surprised and curious why this is coming out now," Luntao said Tuesday, as quoted by Recordnet. "The only conclusion I can come to is we are about to come up on an election. This proposal, what you're arguing in calling for an investigation ... is illegal and unreasonable."

Luntao says he did nothing wrong, that he recused himself from discussions regarding Aspire, and that the district's legal counsel reviewed his participation and found no case law suggesting a conflict of interest. That will now be up to outside investigators to determine.