Friday, March 04, 2011

What happened to Mark Bresee, the recently-resigned general counsel for SDUSD?

He's up in Ventura, where the new school board is taking action against a superintendent popular with the old board.

Rio board moves to buy out superintendent's contract
By Cheri Carlson
Ventura County Star
March 2, 2011

Rio School District
trustees announced in a split decision Wednesday night that they will buy out schools chief Sherianne Cotterell's contract, which would make her the third consecutive Rio superintendent forced out by a board.

It was the fourth week in a row that trustees scheduled a closed-door discussion for a performance review of the superintendent. The discussions came just three months after four new trustees were sworn in after being elected to the five-member board.

Weeks before the new members took their seats, Cotterell had received excellent ratings in a performance review by the former board.

In a 3-1 vote Wednesday, newly elected board President Eleanor Torres and trustees Henrietta Macias and Ramon Rodriguez voted to exercise a provision of Cotterell's contract that allows the board to terminate the employment agreement without cause. They also announced that Cotterell will be put on paid administrative leave, effective at the end of business Friday.

The board will provide Cotterell with 60 days' written notice of its decision today, board attorney Mark Bresee said.
The contract requires written notice before a termination without cause.

Any discussion and the vote itself took place in closed session. Torres declined to comment about why the decision was made.

Trustee Mike Barber, who was absent Wednesday, said he had requested the meeting be held on a different day because of previously scheduled plans. A statement he wrote was read into the record before the closed session.

"I want to be clear and on the record that I am against the action that certain members of the board are taking," Barber wrote in the statement. "I support our current superintendent and the job she is doing for the district."

Trustee Tim Blaylock, the sole remaining member of the previous board, was the only vote against the move Wednesday...

The board's action came amid criticism of the superintendent's misdemeanor conviction on shoplifting charges last year, and a long-strained relationship between the teachers union and district administration.

Torres, Macias and Rodriguez were endorsed by the Rio Teachers Association.

Cotterell's contract was to expire at the end of this June, but the former board met in November and gave her positive performance ratings for the past two years, triggering a two-year contract extension.

A maximum cash settlement for the board to end Cotterell's employment without cause likely would equal 18 months of pay, or $247,500. Cotterell gets a base salary of $165,000 annually, according to her employment contract.In recent weeks, some have lauded her work in Rio. Others have criticized her, as well as former trustees, for extending her contract before the new board was seated...

Rio revolving door

March 2003: Superintendent Yolanda Benitez is suspended.

June 2003: The board fires Benitez and appoints Patrick Faverty as superintendent.

September 2003: Benitez files suit against the district and three board members, claiming wrongful termination, breach of contract and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

June 2005: Board decides not to extend Faverty's contract.

November 2005: Faverty says he will resign at end of the school year.

January 2006: State appellate court rules trustees violated state open-meetings law when they fired Benitez.

March 2006: Board settles with Benitez, paying her and her attorneys nearly $1.4 million.

July 2006: Board appoints Sherianne Cotterell as superintendent.

August 2006: Three board members are recalled.

Nov. 2, 2010: Four new trustees are elected to the board.

Nov. 4, 2010: Cotterell gets excellent performance review from board, before new trustees take office.

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