The embattled former superintendent of the San Ysidro School District says he will return the money from his severance deal to the school district if he is found guilty of any crime.
Former Superintendent Manuel Paul, who worked for the district for 38 years, is being given a deal to leave as the schools chief. The move comes after allegations of wrong-doing and criminal charges from a San Diego County Grand Jury.
Details of the total severance deal remain unclear, but one part is contained in the superintendent's contract - a year's salary or $186,000. But, there's a caveat: Paul will pay back the money if he's convicted of a crime.
Paul is one of 15 South County school officials and contractors snagged in a public corruption case. He's pleaded "not guilty" to perjury charges, and for accepting a gift from a single source over the legal limit.
Plus, in a deposition for a lawsuit, he testified that he accepted $2,500 in cash from a contractor in the parking lot of a South Bay steakhouse. He said the money was for campaign signs, but changes in campaign documentation after the admission raise further questions about the transaction.
He told NBC7's Education Reporter Rory Devine today that he is confident he will be exonerated of any wrong-doing.
A furious community issued recall notices to three board members who accepted Paul's resignation. Trustee Jean Romero, who was issued a recall notice, told us today that the board made the most fiscally responsible decision possible given the circumstances.
"There is no cause proven yet that Mr. Paul did anything wrong," Romero said. "We had to abide by his contract and by the Ed Code that says we have to pay at least one year of his salary. Had we not complied with that contract, he could come back and sue us for many of thousands of dollars more, and it would cost us legal fees and everything else."
Meantime, the district has shut off the superintendent's district email account after concerns were raised by teachers that he was still using it to direct staff after his March 18 resignation letter.
Paul says he was responding to teachers who were asking him questions and that technically he is still the superintendent until June 30.