School board meetings in Compton were spared this week when board members and the besieged schools chief put aside some differences and endured an uneasy standoff on others.
Administrator Stanley G. Oswalt had threatened to eliminate board meetings in the Compton Unified School District because of the repeated, wide-ranging and high-volume verbal assaults of trustee Amen Rahh. Oswalt said the attacks were unfounded and were intended to provoke divisiveness and unrest.
In previous board meetings, Rahh, who is African-American, had accused Oswalt, who is Anglo, of governing with “neo-Nazi Germany Gestapo tactics” and discriminating against African-American employees.
Most of the district’s employees are African-American. Oswalt’s cost-cutting moves have resulted in layoffs, pay cuts for administrators and numerous reassignments. State officials appointed Oswalt, a retired superintendent, to run the financially struggling district under terms of a July emergency state loan.
Board President Kelvin D. Filer engineered a partial truce during closed-door sessions on Monday and Tuesday. Board members will be allowed to vote on issues, although Oswalt will still have the final say. In addition, board members will now have an office. Oswalt had eliminated board members’ offices when he took charge of the district.
Rahh on Tuesday toned down the volume and frequency of his critical remarks, but said he remains dissatisfied with anything less than Oswalt’s removal. After the meeting, Oswalt said he reserves the right to sanction individual board members if they obstruct district management.