Monday, December 15, 2008

Severance rewards lack of integrity

This is the editorial written by my brother Andy Dias, a teacher in the Alum Rock School district, to the San Jose Mercury and published in the Sunday paper December 15, 2008. Andy's editorial was in response to a $294,000 severance package plus benefits negotiated by Norma Martinez with the Alum Rock School District Board and reported by the San Jose Mercury on December 03. The San Jose Mercury's story is below in Italics.

As a teacher in Alum Rock, I just wanted to express my dismay and anger at the recent give-away package to outgoing Superintendent Norma Martinez. Normally when someone quits, there is no severance package. Martinez is shirking her responsibilities, and we are rewarding her for a lack of integrity. Worse still is the slap in the face that this severance package comes in the wake of the worst budget crisis in 50 years. Anticipating the budget crisis, Martinez is jumping ship before she has to deal with the hard financial decisions. Whatever happened to the captain who committed to being the last to leave the ship? If Martinez has any sense of civic responsibility, she will refuse the gifted monies and acknowledge that the Alum Rock students deserve better.

Andy Dias

San Jose

The San Jose Mercury reported the following:

Days before a shake-up on the school board, Alum Rock School District Superintendent Norma Martinez has worked out a deal to resign from the struggling East San Jose district with about $294,000 in severance pay plus benefits.

In a hastily called meeting Tuesday, the board voted 3-1 to release Martinez — at her request — effective Dec. 31. But before that, the board arranged to pay her 18 months of her salary to walk out the door. Her contract, however, allows only 12 months of severance if she were fired without cause — and none if she resigned.

The board's move outraged critics who have clashed with Martinez, particularly over her resistance to fully embrace charter and small schools. Many expected a deal was in the works after voters in November replaced a Martinez-friendly majority with two new members

Severance rewards lack of integrity

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