Educators, Parents, and Attorney General File Suit to Remove Charter CEO Paul Keefer from the SCOE Board

Lawsuit Alleges Charter Executive’s Conflict of Interest with Sacramento County Office of Education

SACRAMENTO – On April 29, 2024, the Attorney General (via two individual Relators) filed a lawsuit to challenge the right of Paul Keefer to hold office as a Trustee on the Sacramento County Board of Education (SCBOE) while simultaneously serving as the President, CEO and Executive Director of the Pacific Charter Institute. The lawsuit alleges that Keefer’s two positions are incompatible in violation of the Government Code and Education Code, and argues that he should be removed from his seat on the County Board of Education due to this egregious conflict of interest.

In his opinion granting the parents and educators leave to sue, Attorney General Bonta concluded that there are substantial legal issues that warrant judicial resolution. Bonta wrote, “Keefer acknowledges that if the County Board were the chartering authority for a Pacific Charter School, then the board “would have substantial oversight duties with respect to that charter school,” which “could create a ‘significant clash of loyalties’ for an individual who is both a Trustee on the county board and the Executive Director of the Charter School.” Bonta went on further to write, “the potential for conflicts of interest exists,” which is most concerning of an elected public figure tasked with making decisions to serve students across Sacramento County.

Mara Harvey, an educator in Sacramento County, a parent to students in the Sacramento City Unified School District, and one of the people initiating the lawsuit, stated, “The blatant conflict of interest on our County Office of Education Board must be addressed. Our students and communities deserve elected leaders who will make decisions rooted in the best interests of students, not for their own financial gain.”

Sasha Vogt, a trustee on Twin Rivers Unified School District’s school board explained, “This case highlights broader concerns and questions regarding conflicts of interest in educational governance. When an individual holds a position in leadership within a charter school while also serving on a board of education, questions are raised regarding impartiality and personal interest. I am happy to stand with educators and parents to safeguard the integrity and transparency of our public education system.”


The 310,000-member California Teachers Association is affiliated with the 3 million-member National Education Association.

The California School Employees Association is the largest classified school employees union in the United States, representing a quarter million school support staff throughout California since 1927.