CUSD Board will likely appoint Llanusa’s replacement

by Mick Rhodes | editor@claremont-courier.com

Claremont Unified School District’s Board of Education will likely appoint a replacement for its former president, Steven Llanusa, who resigned Saturday.

The board is set to vote on whether or not to designate a subcommittee to recommend an appointment to Llanusa’s now vacant Trustee Area 4 seat at its 6 p.m. Thursday, December 15 public meeting at the district offices, 170 W. San Jose Ave., Claremont. Those close to the issue have indicated it’s likely this will be the board’s course of action. The meeting will be livestreamed via Zoom.

The meeting agenda, as well as Zoom log in instructions, are viewable at cusd.claremont.edu.

It’s not yet clear how long the subcommittee, if approved by the board, will take to recommend Llanusa’s replacement, but CUSD Superintendent Jim Elsasser said a proposed timeline will be discussed at Thursday’s meeting. According to CUSD’s Board Policy Manual, an appointment must be made within 60 days.

“The Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools has been notified,” reads the agenda for Thursday’s meeting. “The Board of Education will consider the options provided by statute to fill the vacancy on the Board of Education created by this resignation, within the prescribed 60-day period, and make decisions related thereto.” Under “financial impact,” the agenda reads, “N/A.” The appointee’s term will expire in December 2024.

The move comes after a tumultuous week, in which reaction to allegations of misconduct at a December 3 party at Llanusa’s Claremont home escalated into a small-town feeding frenzy, involving several print and television media outlets and widespread social media outcry.

Photos taken at Llanusa’s Saturday, December 3 annual holiday party show shirtless male entertainers flexing their muscles and mugging for the camera, while members of the Claremont High School Choir — whom he hired to perform at the event — are nearby.

Parents and caregivers quickly took to social media after hearing reports about the party from CHS Choir members who were in attendance. The primary focus of their outrage was the presence of shirtless male entertainers and allegations of guests offering alcohol to minors.

Amid an increasingly vocal public outcry demanding his resignation and following a December 9 de-facto vote of no confidence from his colleagues on the school board, Llanusa tendered his resignation December 10.

Llanusa had been a member of the CUSD Board of Education since 2005. He was last reelected just over a month ago, on November 8.

The COURIER has reached out to Llanusa twice over the past week. He has declined to comment, citing advice from counsel.

The board will also discuss board member compensation at Thursday’s meeting, and will elect new officers, including a replacement for former president Llanusa, vice president, clerk, and secretary.

It marks the first regular meeting for the board’s newest members Kathryn Dunn and Richard O’Neill, both of whom were also elected November 8.

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