CVUSD Makes Cryptic Reversal By Rescinding Naming Of School After Former Board President

Inexplicably, the Chino Valley School Board on March 2 rescinded its January 19 vote to name the second school in The Preserve development after the late School Board President and Chino Police Captain Louis Moreno.
Moreno was born in 1935 on his family’s farm, Rancho Moreno, located at Pine and Euclid avenues in what was then referred to as Prado City and is now a portion of Prado Regional State Park. He attended segregated Chino schools as a child before graduating from Chino High in the Class of 1953. He subsequently went to work with the Chino Police Department, rising through the ranks to become what was then the youngest captain in the police department’s history.
He served eight years, from 1981 until 1989, on the Chino Valley Unified School District Board and was the founder of both the Chino Youth Boxing Club and the Chino Youth Services organization.
His attachment to the police department and understanding of the dynamics involving residents of the city led to the creation of the Chino Police Community Relations Board. Upon retirement from the police department, he operated his own private investigation firm, Lou Moreno and Associates. In 1990 he resisted an effort to draft him into a run for San Bernardino County Sheriff.The Preserve is a 1,155-acre planned development project in that portion of the former Chino Agricultural Preserve which was annexed by Chino as opposed to that part of the expanse that was annexed by the City of Ontario. Lewis Homes has an entitlement to build 8,100 homes and apartments units on the Chino portion of the property, accompanied by schools, parks, recreation centers and a 25-acre commercial component.
The Chino Valley Unified School District has now progressed to the point of naming the schools that are to be built within The Preserve.
On November 3, 2022, the district’s board of education, in accordance with its policy pertaining to the naming of district facilities, opened a 30-day window to the public to submit names, comments and recommendations on how The Preserve’s second school should be branded. The district received multiple suggestions, most via email through the district website during the 30-day window. On December 15, 2022, the board held a public hearing on the proposed names received and was open to entertain additional public comments, though no speakers or comments came through with further name options at that public hearing. Suggested names were: Louis W. Elementary, Wayne M. Joseph K-8, Lou Moreno, Wayne Joseph Elementary, Louis W. Moreno Elementary School, Abott Thyme Elementary, Louis W. Moreno School, Preserve Academy, Louis W. Moreno, Alta Dena Elementary, Vander Pol Elementary, Dairy Land, Horus, Dairy Land Preserve, Thoth, Hillside High, Wisdom Thoth, Rincon Elementary, El Prado Preserve Academy, The Preserve, King Tut (Tutankhamun), Schoolie McSchoolFace, Hope, Catamounts, Preserve Hope Academy, Rancho Santa Ana Academy, Yorba Slaughter Elementary, El Prado Academy, Randall Lewis STEM Academy, Martin A. Silveira Elementary and Kemet.
On January 19, after hearing from four individuals who all recommended that the school be named after Moreno, the board balked at one version containing his name but then considered the variant form of Lewis W. Moreno School, as proposed by School Board Member Don Bridge, seconded by Andrew Cruz. That name was approved by a 3-to-2 margin, with Bridge, Cruz and James Na prevailing, and Board President Sonja Shaw and Jonathan Monroe opposed.
That appeared to be that.
At the board’s February 2 meeting, Albert vande Steeg, a contractor and novelist who lives in Chino and whose career as a detective, including a stint as an undercover narcotics operative, with the Chino Police Department during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s overlapped with the years that Moreno was on the force, was scheduled to address the school board. Because he was engaged with work at a food bank he runs, his daughter, Carla vande Steeg filled in for him.
Carla vande Steeg’s remarks were brief.
After noting that her father “couldn’t be here,” she said, “He wanted me to reiterate that the naming, in regards to the new Preserve school, after a person is a mistake. In today’s society, peoples’ names are being removed from schools and public buildings. A thorough background check should be done prior to selecting a name to prevent embarrassment in the future. So just consider that with the naming of the school.”
This week, at its March 2 meeting yesterday, the board abruptly changed direction from what it had done on January 19.
Cruz, who had been so enthusiastic about naming the second school in The Preserve community that is now under construction on East Preserve Loop, south of Pine Avenue and not far from where Moreno was born and raised, in honor of Moreno, changed his stance in favor of naming the school after Moreno, as did Na. Thus, Cruz, Na, Shaw and Monroe took the rare action of undoing something that had already been approved. Bridge remained true to his vote the first time around, and the rescission was made by a 4-to-1 margin.
Several of the late Moreno’s family members were present in the board meeting chamber on Thursday, March 2, just as they had been on January 19. They made clear they were dismayed with the board’s action. One of them, Moreno’s son, Eric Moreno, decried the vote, questioned the action and asked for an explanation.
This prompted Shaw, who was running the meeting to say that the board was collectively concerned about something that “had come to our attention” after the January 19 action. She thereafter declined to go into further detail and as the presiding officer closed off any further discussion of the matter.
Notably, the district has now blocked the video of the March 2 school board meeting.
Mark Gutglueck

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