Court records and multiple voter registrations show La Mesa-Spring Valley School District Board Member Charda Bell-Fontenot may have been ineligible to hold her position for over a year.
San Diego – “Where does she really live and did she commit fraud by serving on a board for which she was no longer eligible to serve?” That is the question many parents and civic leaders in the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District are asking today as evidence is being released that suggest that Board Member Charda Bell-Fontenot may have ineligibly served on the board for over a year. Those questions are expected to be voiced at tonight’s school board meeting.
Three weeks ago Bell-Fontenot attracted national scorn for not only voting against a school reopening plan but dismissing concerned parents and fellow board members as “white supremacists” and “racists” for wanting to reopen schools for their children. Bell-Fontenot’s offensive remarks were condemned by district officials and fellow board members, but she has refused to apologize. Last week parents launched a Recall campaign against her seeking her removal from office.
However, in the process of serving the Recall papers a legal question has now emerged regarding Bell-Fontenot’s residency. Under California law it is illegal for an elected official to serve in a position if they are no longer eligible as a registered voter and actual resident in the district they are supposed to represent.
According to San Diego county voter records, Bell Fontenot has been registered at multiple properties across San Diego County since she first ran for the La Mesa-Spring Valley School Board.
According to two separate legal proceedings filed against her in San Diego Superior Court (one in 2019 and one as recently as February 2021), Bell Fontenot is known to have resided at an address in El Cajon that is completely outside the La Mesa-Spring Valley school district boundaries.
While Charda Bell-Fontentot registered at an address in Spring Valley immediately after her election in November of 2018, she subsequently re-registered at a different address and kept the El Cajon property outside the district as her official mailing address.
Then on March 3, 2021 – after questions regarding her residency and eligibility on the board were raised by parents – Bell Fontenot suddenly re-registered at the Spring Valley address she used back in November 2018. With multiple addresses floating around and a rushed re-registration occurring just days ago, it all begs the question if she was registered in the district before she was elected and during the length of her current term.
Reform California also has a pending Public Records Act request with the school district to determine any additional addresses she has provided and is also investigating whether she has kept a homeowner occupied status on her El Cajon property with governmental taxation entities.
If she is found to have not lived in the district during the entire time of her service on the board, she could face criminal sanction and would have to be removed from the La Mesa-Spring Valley School Board.
“We already knew that Charda Bell-Fontenot needed to be removed from her position for her gross misconduct at board meetings and for opposing school re-openings – and now we have to ask whether she broke the law by serving on this board while not maintaining proper residency in the district,” noted Carl DeMaio, Chairman of Reform California which is supporting the recall.
Reform California is one of the largest grassroots advocacy organizations in California with over 650,000 subscribers and a statewide supporter and volunteer base of over 50,000. More information on school board recalls can be found at www.SchoolBoardRecall.org