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School Board Finalizes Dismissal Of Embattled Centinela Valley Superintendent

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

LAWNDALE (CBSLA.com) — Superintendent Jose Fernandez, whose $750,000 compensation package drew scrutiny from the community, the FBI and Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, has been unanimously dismissed by the Centinela Valley Union High School District Board.

The five board members voted unanimously Wednesday – as they had in July – to begin Fernandez’s dismissal proceedings.

Fernandez’s unusually high compensation was partly the result of a one-time payout of $230,000 that he used to increase his pension credits, which would give him a higher annual pension upon retirement, according to the Los Angeles Times. In addition, he received a steep raise.

July’s vote started the dismissal proceedings, allowing the district to send Fernandez a letter of the charges so he would have a chance to defend himself, interim Superintendent Bob Cox said. Fernandez had the option to appear before the board, either in public or in closed session, but was not present at Wednesday night’s vote, which finalized his dismissal.

“This is the final chapter of this part of the book,” Cox said.

Fernandez has been on leave since March, then suspended with pay in April, pending an investigation by district officials after the Daily Breeze highlighted Fernandez’s lofty paycheck and an employment contract that gave him a 9 percent annual raise.

The case has been investigated by the FBI and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office to see whether any criminal laws were broken.

The district enrolled 6,637 students at three campuses and two small alternative programs in the 2012-13 school year. It serves Hawthorne, Lawndale and Lennox.

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(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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