Legal problems continue to mount for the San Ysidro School District over the $400,000 severance package it gave to former superintendent Julio Fonseca earlier this year.
On December 15, public watchdog group San Diegans for Open Government sued the district, Fonseca, and the board of trustees for violating state meeting laws when it approved the package. It was the third lawsuit filed against the district this year.
Trouble began in January 2015 when the district, at Fonseca's urging, fired Enrique Gonzalez. Gonzalez had allegedly seen Fonseca out on a date with Alexis Rodriguez, a woman who had recently been hired at San Ysidro School District. Gonzalez then discovered that Fonseca had failed to notify the board of their relationship before he lobbied for her employment. Gonzalez was fired. But, before he was, Fonseca and other boardmembers agreed to give him $113,000 in severance pay.
Fast-forward to September 1 of this year, Fonseca suddenly resigned over a personnel issue. On that night, trustees for the district held a closed-door meeting wherein they discussed terminating an employee (read: Fonseca) as well the approval of a "separation package" with the newly retired superintendent.
At that meeting, trustees approved $400,000 in severance pay for Fonseca. They did so despite the fact that, according to his employment contract, he was not entitled to severance worth more or equal to 18 months of pay, nor was he entitled to any post-employment health benefits. Despite the restrictions, Fonseca received those benefits and more.
Now, the district is asked to recover that money and bring the matter up again in a public meeting.