A spokesperson with the Montebello Unified School District (MUSD) announced on July 8 that they’d settled a wrongful termination lawsuit with a former superintendent of theirs. Another case filed by the school district’s then-chief financial and operations officer (CFO/COO) is still awaiting a judicial review.
Both plaintiffs were let go from their roles with MUSD back in 2016. They were terminated after calling attention to political corruption involving activities by the school district’s former chief business officer, who was also the head of the school board. The chief business officer was ultimately let go from his role and was replaced by three new board members.
The school district has undergone several financial audits in the years since the two plaintiffs blew the whistle on their colleague. How it manages its money, including its adult education and bond programs, has been called into question. Auditors have concluded that MUSD lacks internal controls necessary for good financial stewardship.
Despite its recent settlement of the superintendent’s case for $4.9 million, the school district spokesperson noted this won’t affect the students. He notes that MUSD’s insurance company covers 70% of the settlement awards. This means that only 30% of what’s due will be paid from the general fund.
In his statement, the school district spokesperson noted that MUSD will continue to offer an excellent public school education. He noted that this includes them offering quality programs and a positive learning environment for all who attend its schools.
He noted that they ultimately decided to try and close out the lawsuits so they didn’t have any open litigation.
These settlements have come at a time when the Los Angeles County Office of Education had to recently appoint a fiscal adviser to closely monitor its financial decisions. Before it did, county education officials had considered filing for bankruptcy.
California is an at-will employment state. This means that many employers are empowered to let workers go for a variety of reasons. They’re prohibited from doing so out of retaliation for a worker being a whistleblower, for reporting sexual harassment or discrimination or for other unlawful reasons.
A wrongful termination attorney can help you make sense of whether your dismissal was indeed illegal. If it was, then they can advise you of how you may be entitled to compensation for their indiscretion.