Castaic changes tact after potential violation 

Outgoing Castaic Union School District board President John Richard announced he is stepping down June 2, 2023.


The changes continue at the Castaic Union School District as the school board’s president announced this week he was tendering his resignation, just six months after his re-election to the seat. 

Board President John Richard, who represents approximately 4,600 people who live in District D for the governing board, announced he was stepping down effective June 2, according to a news release from the district issued Monday. 

The governing board made the decision to appoint a replacement for a provisional two-year term during a closed session discussion Thursday, according to district officials.  

The closed-session decision to make an appointment was announced Monday morning, and then rescinded Monday afternoon. 

“Following a conversation this afternoon with (the L.A. County Office of Education), we understand that the board of trustees must take action in open session at a scheduled board meeting,” Charmin Ortega, executive assistant to the superintendent, wrote in an email Monday afternoon. “We are working with the board of trustees to schedule a special meeting this week.” 

Richard, who was first appointed to the board in October 2018 to replace Susan Christopher, and then re-elected in November, is resigning due to an out-of-state move, according to the district’s announcement. 

Richard was out of town Monday and unable to be interviewed as of the publication of this story, but a family member confirmed via email they were planning to move to Virginia where Richard has accepted a pastoring position at a church.  

The news is part of a series of changes that have taken place in the district’s leadership in recent weeks, which has also seen the announcement of a new acting assistant superintendent of educational services, Live Oak Principal Stephanie Beach, and a new acting superintendent, Bob Brauneisen. Less than two weeks later, the district announced he has been appointed superintendent, removing the “acting” designation from his title. 

Brauneisen stated Monday via email that the district made the decision to appoint for a two-year term, in accordance with county Education Code 5091(a), because a special election ahead of November 2024 “is just too costly.  

“We are provisionally appointing a replacement for Mr. Richards’ seat until November 2024,” Brauneisen stated. “The remaining two years of the original term’s seat will be filled via a special election, which can be consolidated with the regularly scheduled election.” 

The district announced Monday afternoon it was changing that plan once it learned it was in violation of the county’s Education Code due to the vote being conducted in closed session. 

Based on the apparent closed session discussion, the district was planning to appoint a person who will hold the seat for about 18 months. 

Area D represents a large swath of the east and southeast portions of the district, mostly east of Interstate 5. 

The since-retracted release called for any residents interested in applying for the appointment to submit a completed application to the superintendent’s office by 4 p.m. June 1. 

The board had planned to review all of the applications from the eligible hopefuls and then conduct interviews June 7, when an appointment was expected to be made. 

Monday afternoon’s announcement could change the timing of that plan. 

To be eligible to apply for a seat, the person must be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen and registered voter who lives in the district, and they cannot be a district employee.  

“The district looks forward to receiving applications from community members who have a strong interest in supporting and improving the Castaic Union School District,” according to the  release.  

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