Schoolhouse Beat

Board says it won't pay superintendent's criminal defense fees

>From The San Diego Union-Tribune: The San Ysidro (Calif.) school board has rejected a proposal to pay criminal defense fees for Superintendent Manuel Paul, who faces charges in connection with construction fraud. The board also has placed him on administrative leave for 45 days. Paul had sought $100,000 of tax money for his own defense, and $100,000 for school board member Yolanda Hernandez, who also has been indicted. After the board rejected Paul’s request for legal fees, Hernandez said she did not want the district to pay for her legal defense. The two are among 15 current and former school officials and contractors from three districts in the San Diego area that face charges in a corruption probe.

Earlier....from The San Diego Union-Tribune: Fifteen people are facing felony and misdemeanor charges in a scandal involving construction contracts at three San Diego area school systems. Prosecutors are building a case that officials accepted meals, sporting events, plays, campaign contributions and other considerations in exchange for multimillion dollar school bond construction contracts. Last year, four officials, all with ties to Sweetwater Union High School District — former Superintendent Jesus Gandara, school board members Pearl Quiñones and Arlie Ricasa and former board member Greg Sandoval. They have pleaded not guilty. Now, the case has expanded to include more officials at Sweetwater and others at two other school districts — the San Ysidro School District and Southwestern Community College District.

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