An unfortunate equation: management of the DMUSD general fund


Suzanne Hall

, Torrey Hills parent

Jill Steiner

, Carmel Del mar parent

Karen Schuman

, Sage Canyon Parent

Former Del Mar Schools superintendent Sharon McClain filed a government code claim in June, a step in the process of developing her lawsuit against the Del Mar Union School District for breach of contract and other violations. A legal battle or settlement with her will be an expensive proposition, to be paid out from the district’s general fund. As the general fund is the account from which the education of Del Mar students is supported, any loss to the fund is significant, especially in these difficult financial times.

It may be summertime, but let’s do a little general fund math:

$331, 122 .00 (amount paid out in buyout benefits and plaintiff fees for terminating

superintendent Tom Bishop in 2008)

  • $50, 423.91 (amount paid in legal fees for services related to terminating McClain

from 7/2009 through 5/2010)
= $381, 545.91, the total spent in the pursuit of terminating superintendents in the

last two years.

This was all paid for by your children’s general fund dollars.

And by the way, this summary figure does not include any payments relating to future legal action by McClain, which certainly will bring this total higher. We can anticipate that a settlement or lawsuit could cost the district hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And it does not include an accounting of legal fees accrued in the run up to the termination of Bishop or the legal fees paid to the Shinoff firm in the hiring process of a replacement for McClain.

Former board president Katherine White was involved in Bishop’s termination and was a prime architect of McClain’s, as suggested by the descriptors on the legal bills and McClain’s post-termination comments. White has expressed interest in running for the board again in November. Perhaps those of us who understand the significance of this math equation to our students will strike a blow for good fiscal policy.

Let’s ensure that she will not be reelected.