On March 9, 2021, the Milpitas Unified School District’s (MUSD) Board of Education voted to censure Trustee Michael Tsai for “continuous inappropriate behavior and misconduct.”
Last night, at the most recent MUSD board meeting, the Board voted to allow the censure of Trustee Tsai to continue into December 2022.
A censure is a formal way of showing disapproval of an individual’s actions. Tsai’s censure is the first one in MUSD Board of Education history. According to the Board’s resolution, drafted back in March, Tsai’s censure stemmed from several issues: his repeated absences from and tardiness to Board meetings, his social media posts wherein he has repeatedly attacked fellow Board Members, and his pattern of creating conflict where none exists.
“His behavior has actually gotten progressively worse since the censure,” said Board Clerk Minh Ngo during the meeting.
Tsai claimed that the reasons for the censure were political, and that he had evidence to back that up:
“First off – is anybody going to be surprised by how this turns out? I think we all know what this is about,” said Trustee Tsai, who went on to suggest that the censure was only done as a means of retaliation and to create negative press against him before the 2022 election.
In recent weeks, Trustee Tsai has increasingly written negative posts about his fellow Board Members on his Facebook page, and has also claimed that Board Members have been purposefully leaving him out of Board meetings and not allowing him to attend virtually. However, The Beat looked into his claims and discovered that he hadn’t been providing the school district with a physical address for his location, which is required by law to be included on the Board agenda at least 72 hours before one virtually attends a meeting.
Board Clerk Ngo made a motion to extend the censure of Board Member Tsai, with Board Member Hon Lien seconding.
Machelle Kessinger, the President of Chapter 281 of the California School Employees Association (CSEA), got up during public comment earlier in the meeting to express her frustration with Trustee Tsai:
“Today we witnessed again during our Board Study Session a rogue Board Member who doesn’t like to follow rules, “ said Kessinger. “And I’d just like to say, Michael, we’re tired of you taking our precious time because you’re acting like a child.”
She added, “We would appreciate it if you would start behaving, and attending meetings as you have been elected to do. We’re tired of it. We’ve been dealing with it for way too long.”
Kessinger also mentioned that she, along with Diana Orlando, a teacher at Pomeroy Elementary School and President of the Milpitas Teachers Association, got up and walked out of the Board Study Session earlier, as they were both frustrated by Tsai’s behavior.
“I have second-graders that behave better,” Orlando said, looking toward Tsai in his seat at the end of the dais.
All Board Members, excluding Trustee Tsai, voted to continue his censure until next December.
Also at last night’s Board meeting, Board Members voted to appoint Kelly Yip-Chuan to the role of President, Chris Norwood to the role of Vice President, and Minh Ngo to the role of Board Clerk. Board positions are voted on every 12 months.