On November 14, 2019 Cipriano Vargas offered a motion to DE-FUND all School Resource Officers at Vista’s schools. He then cast the third and deciding vote to approve the controversial 3-2 measure. The vote came just twelve hours after the deadly Santa Clarita School Shooting that took students’ lives and injured many more.
Vista parents and teachers begged the Board to reconsider their decision to fire the SROs. Many of them said that the officers made them feel safe. But Cipriano Vargas ignored them all.
At the December 12th, 2019 school board meeting, Vista students once again asked the board to reinstate SROs into schools. Once again, Cipriano Vargas ignored them again.
While speaking before the Board, one Vista teacher emphasized the importance of SROs saying, “This year I had a student who threatened another student in my classroom. You have to have those resource officers on campus who can support those situations.”
Cipriano Vargas’s “budgetary” excuse for why the School Resource Officers had to be fired holds no water. Since November 2019, the Vista Unified School District has hired more than 200 classified staff members. The board spent millions on new non-teacher employees. Blaming the budget was a false pretext for firing SRO’s.
Cipriano Vargas has a well-documented history of anti law enforcement rhetoric. He has implied Vista Law Enforcement Officers have been used as “a resource to intimidate the community” and apparently believes LEOs contribute to the “School to Prison Pipeline” conspiracy theory. Could the real reason Vargas fired Vista Unified SROs be his disdain for law enforcement?
The Coast News reported, “Trustee Cipriano Vargas, president of the Vista Unified School District, who voted (as part of a 3-2 majority) in 2019 to remove SROs from schools, [argued] the policy results from an anti-law enforcement attitude that jeopardizes student safety.”
In September of 2019, Deputy Mayor John Franklin addressed the School Board. He offered to seek increased funding from the City of Vista if the School Board would allow add a discussion about restoring SRO’s to a future school board agenda.
As of September 19th, 2022 the Vista School Board has yet to agendize a discussion about restoring SROs.
On his own website, Vargas brags that he HIRED deputies. This is a lie. On June 23, the Board voted to explore restoring SROs with “One-Time funds,” meaning a temporary restoration, not a permanent one. The timing of the decision just months before an election was obvious political posturing.
As of September 30, 2022, the Board has still failed to approve a contract with the San Diego Sheriff’s Department or the Oceanside Police Department to restore SROs. Also, as of the same date, the Board has refused to agendize a discussion for the public to participate in the discussion about restoring SRO’s. At the June 23, 2022 meeting, the item was described as, “Security Contracts with outside agencies.” This vague description was designed to prevent the public from awareness of a discussion that would have been of great public interest.
The Board did not make it’s June 23, 2022 action public until September 7, 2022 when inquires from reporters forced them to disclose the off-agenda discussion. California’s Open Meeting Law, known as the “Brown Act” requires public agency boards to give notice to the public of items being discussed.
Related News Articles and Sources
Vista Unified November 6th, 2019 Budget meeting
Vista Unified School District November 7, 2019 Board Action Update on Budget Reductions
November 14th, 2019 School Board Meeting where Cipriano Vargas makes the motion to eliminate School Resource Officers
North County Daily Star: Vista Students Protest Elimination of School Resource Officers
NBC News: Santa Clarita, California, high school shooting leaves 2 students dead, multiple injured
CBS 8 San Diego: Vista Unified School Board budget cuts include school resource officer
Coast News: Vista school officials criticized for ‘poorly’ handling alleged gun threat
Vargas implies that Vista Law Enforcement Officers are a resource to intimidate the community
Cipriano Vargas uses the phrase, “School to Prison Pipeline” to refer to Law Enforcement Officers
New Classified Employees Hired After the Firing of the Deputies
Firing the deputies was an anti-law enforcement choice by Cipriano Vargas.
Since the firing of the deputies in November 2019, Vista Unified has hired over 200 classified employees when they should have not fired the deputies.
Links to New Classified Positions since 12/12/2019
December 12, 2019: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/BJ5N8K5EB42C/$file/2019-12-12%20Classified%20New%20Positions.pdf
January 23, 2020: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/BKWQ9966603E/$file/2020-01-23%20Classified%20New%20Positions.pdf
February 13, 2020: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/BLKMGT5B3A28/$file/2020-02-13%20Classified%20New%20Positions.pdf
March 5, 2020:https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/BM4UP47CECFA/$file/2020-03-05%20Classified%20New%20Positions.pdf
September 10, 2020: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/BT4PBX633ABF/$file/2020-09-10%20Classified%20New%20Positions.pdf
October 15, 2020: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/BU6VFB801C08/$file/2020-10-15%20Classified%20New%20Positions%20(3).pdf
November 12, 2020: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/BUCTDY76ED52/$file/2020-11-12%20Classified%20New%20Positions.pdf
December 15, 2020: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/BW7PWS66A5B3/$file/2020-12-15%20Classified%20New%20Positions.pdf
January 21, 2021: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/BX3RKM6E639C/$file/2021-01-21%20Classified%20New%20Positions.pdf
February 11, 2021: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/BXR22Y002201/$file/2021-02-11%20Classified%20New%20Positions.pdf
April 8, 2021: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/BZSJ874B8BAE/$file/2021-04-08%20Classified%20New%20Positions.pdf
May 6, 2021: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/C2KTA4765CC2/$file/2021-05-06%20Classified%20New%20Positions.pdf
June 24, 2021: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/C44PL264BE79/$file/2021-06-24%20Classified%20New%20Positions.pdf
July 22, 2021: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/C4WTP678460F/$file/2021-07-22%20Classified%20New%20Positions.pdf
September 9, 2021: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/C6FPND656A8D/$file/2021-09-09%20Classified%20New%20Positions.pdf
November 18, 2021: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/C8SR2B699E0A/$file/2021-11-18%20Classified%20New%20Positions.pdf
December 14, 2021: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/C9KNAY5EBD8A/$file/2021-12-14%20Classified%20New%20Positions.pdf
January 20, 2022: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/CAQS6B711F7E/$file/2022-01-20%20Classified%20New%20Positions.pdf
February 24, 2022: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/CBQVL2813035/$file/2022-02-24%20Classified%20New%20Positions.pdf
March 10, 2022: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/CBQVL2813035/$file/2022-02-24%20Classified%20New%20Positions.pdf
April 7, 2022: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/CD6LBQ55CA36/$file/2022-04-07%20Classified%20New%20Positions.pdf
May 5, 2022: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/CDXV6Y7F47FC/$file/2022-05-05%20Classified%20New%20Positions.pdf
June 23, 2022: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/CFGRP76EE846/$file/2022-06-23%20Classified%20New%20Positions.pdf
July 21, 2022: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/CGCQGY69501A/$file/2022-07-21%20Classified%20New%20Positions.pdf
September 8, 2022: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vusd/Board.nsf/files/CHVQD968C370/$file/2022-09-08%20Classified%20New%20Positions.pdf