Poway Unified superintendent fired by board

Posted at 8:26 AM, Jul 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-11 21:04:58-04

POWAY, Calif. - The Poway Unified School District Board of Education has fired controversial Superintendent John Collins.

The decision was made in a closed-door meeting Sunday night.

Collins had been on administrative leave since April 26. Since then, Mel Robertson, PUSD's associate superintendent of learning support services, has served as interim superintendent.

The results of an internal audit previously requested by the board were released Monday afternoon.

Lynne Lasry, Collins' attorney, issued this statement:

It is unfortunate and troubling that the Board of PUSD, in terminating Dr. Collins' contract with the District, has released an alleged independent audit that is replete with errors, both legal and substantive, including privacy violations of Dr. Collins and others (even in the "redacted" form). It is, however, expressly noted in the first paragraph of the released audit that it "does not express an opinion regarding the existence of fraud."

Without going into detail about the legal and factual errors in the audit and other issues with the Board, the audit clearly ignores evidence that supports Dr. Collins, and includes questionable presentations of summaries which rely on unseen documents and/or mischaracterizations of many circumstances and events.

In addition, Dr. Collins has been systematically denied access to witnesses and documents to defend his position. Dr. Collins denies that he failed to substantially perform his duties as required of a retained Superintendent of PUSD or as required by his contract with the District. Further, he denies that he has intentionally or recklessly engaged in conduct that was designed to be dishonest, or that he intentionally or recklessly violated any other law of this State.

For almost 3 decades that Dr. Collins has served PUSD, he has had the best interests of its students and its employees in mind. Dr. Collins will vigorously defend against these charges, and expects to take affirmative and decisive action in response to the District's actions.

In 2011, the board approved a controversial $105 million capital appreciation bond to renovate its aging schools. By the time the loan is paid back, the interest accrued will be $877 million. The total payback will be just under one $1 billion, roughly 10 times the amount borrowed.