Here is the false and misleading article published by the Union-Tribune. This lawsuit is most definitely NOT settled. There was a trial verdict on October 3, 2012, but no settlement. The case is quite likely headed to the Court of Appeal. Why would anyone want the public to believe it was settled? I have some ideas about that.
Suit settled in favor of former Del Mar Superintendent
U-T San Diego
Oct. 9, 2012
A lawsuit between Del Mar school’s former Superintendent Sharon McClain and the district was settled last week in McClain’s favor after more than two years of legal battle.
Superior Court Judge John Meyer ordered the Del Mar Union School District to pay $388,537 plus about $30,000 in interest after ruling McClain was wrongfully terminated.
Board members did not talk specifics about McClain’s termination throughout the legal proceedings, citing the lawsuit, but a negative performance evaluation from McClain’s tenure was submitted as support for the district’s position during the case.
“You are openly hostile to the current Board President, you complain to Board members about other Board members, and you complain to District staff about the Board,” the evaluation said. “You have positioned yourself as fighting against the Board instead of being part of a governance team.”
McClain submitted a rebuttal saying she felt the board was committed to finding problems with her performance to fire her.
Trustees voted to oust McClain at a March 2010 board meeting, called only two days prior. Still, the board room was packed with parents, and all speakers, nearly 30, supported McClain. In a 3-1-1 vote, she was fired.
Two current trustees took part in the 2010 vote. Trustee Doug Perkins voted in favor of firing McClain, while Trustee Comischell Rodriguez opposed it. Neither responded to emails Tuesday for comment. McClain also did not respond to emails for comment.
Del Mar’s school district has spent more than $700,000 in the last four years on settlements for two superintendents.
[Maura Larkins comment: This statement is false, since not one cent has been paid in any settlement with Sharon McClain, and the district has NO plan to settle with McClain. More importantly, this article fails to tell us how much the district spent on three full-time lawyers during the trial, and for two years of depositions and motions preceding the trial.]
The board bought out Tom Bishop’s contract for more than $300,000 in 2008. McClain was hired in summer 2008.
Current Superintendent Holly McClurg is the fourth to hold the position in four years, following former Superintendent James Peabody, who retired in June.
THE BIZARRE REPORTING OF U-T SAN DIEGO
On October 9, 2012 I added the following to my own blog post about the Sharon McClain trial:
"To its shame, U-T San Diego has not reported on the trial outcome in this case, although it published the details of the district's criticisms of McClain."
Later that day, at 6:28 p.m., U-T San Diego published the bizarre and false headline, "Suit settled in favor of former Del Mar Superintendent."
But this lawsuit is most definitely NOT settled. There was a trial verdict, but no settlement. The case is quite likely headed to the Court of Appeal. Why would anyone want the public to believe it was settled?
I think the answer is clear. Many people claimed that the district would settle to avoid paying huge amounts to lawyers. The opposite is true. The system is set up so that lawyers, rather than wronged employees and students, receive the largesse of school insurer SDCOE-JPA (San Diego County Office of Education). SDCOE's Diane Crosier used to work in Dan Shinoff's law firm, and Mr. Shinoff was involved in hiring Ms. Crosier at SDCOE.
A reasonable person would conclude that the court had actually overseen a settlement of the case. The word "trial" does not occur anywhere in the U-T article. The article refers to "legal proceedings" and mentions the name of the judge, and includes a recitation of board complaints against McClain.
The name of Dan Shinoff is entirely missing from the U-T article. Interestingly, the Union-Tribune completely failed to cover the sexual harassment lawsuit that Mr. Shinoff lost on behalf of his long-time client Patrick Judd, former superintendent of Mountain Empire Unified School District and former board member of CVESD, although the Union-Tribune had endorsed Mr. Judd repeatedly.
Here's the comment I posted on the U-T article:
There was a trial, not a settlement, in this case.
This article states: "Del Mar’s school district has spent more than $700,000 in the last four years on settlements for two superintendents."
This statement is false, since not one cent has been paid in any settlement with Sharon McClain, and the district has NO plan to settle with McClain.
More importantly, this article fails to tell us how much the district spent on three full-time lawyers during the trial, and for two years of depositions and motions preceding the trial.
Obviously, the district should have settled with McClain in the beginning.
U-T San Diego leadership:
Douglas F. Manchester Chairman & Publisher
John T. Lynch Vice Chairman & CEO email@example.com
Mike Hodges President & Chief Operating Officer firstname.lastname@example.org 619-293-1104
Jeff Light Editor, Vice President email@example.com 619-293-1201
Joe Brenneman Chief Revenue Officer firstname.lastname@example.org 619-293-1500
Mike Glickenhaus Vice President, Strategic Sales email@example.com 619-293-2161
Dan Hellbusch Vice President, Audience/Business Development & Strategic Partnerships firstname.lastname@example.org 619-718-1484
Tom Jimenez Vice President, Spanish-Language products email@example.com 619-293-1568
Ryan Kiesel Vice President, Chief Financial Officer firstname.lastname@example.org 619-293-1117
Kris Viesselman Vice President, Product Development & Chief Creative Officer email@example.com 619-293-2235
Harry Woldt Vice President, Circulation & Distribution firstname.lastname@example.org 619-293-1601
Steve Breen Editorial cartoonist email@example.com 619-293-1230
U-T San Diego Editorial Board 619-293-1395
Blanca Gonzalez Community opinion editor firstname.lastname@example.org 619-293-1241
William Osborne Editorial editor email@example.com 619-293-1395
Chris Reed Editorial writer firstname.lastname@example.org 619-293-1511
Joe Taylor Letters editor email@example.com 619-293-1789
[It looks like Don Sevrens, who hid the truth about Castle Park Elementary School as he was publishing hysterical stories and letters, is gone. It's not much of a loss for education reporting.]
SADLY, THE NORTH COUNTY TIMES HAS BEEN BOUGHT BY THE OWNER OF THE U-T.
We are close to having a newspaper monopoly in San Diego.
For years, the North County Times has done a good job reporting on schools. It seems that this is changing since the NCT was recently purchased by Doug Manchester, owner of U-T San Diego.