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Trustee: We are searching for new superintendent

District spokeswoman says school board will have a special closed-session meeting Tuesday to discuss its legal options, 'next steps' after Hubbard's felony conviction.

January 23, 2012|By Britney Barnes

COSTA MESA — Newport-Mesa Unified school board Trustee Karen Yelsey said the board "will be in the search for a new superintendent" in light of Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard's conviction of two felonies on Monday.

"It is what it is," said Yelsey, a Hubbard supporter who added that she was saddened by Hubbard's verdict in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

"The district will continue to function and move forward positively as it has been doing," she said.

Other board members were not as confident about what's in store for Hubbard's future with the district.

School board President Dave Brooks called for special closed-session meeting 3 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the "board's legal options regrading the superintendent's employment contract and next steps in light of the outcome in the case," district spokeswoman Laura Boss said in prepared statement.

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Deputy Supt. and Chief Business Official Paul Reed, who stepped as superintendent in while Hubbard took more than five months of paid leave to prepare his defense, will continue to lead the district in the meantime.

Parents and educators have expressed sadness and disappointment in the verdict, while others say they saw the writing on the wall.

"As educators, of course, we are saddened with what this has done for the reputation of Newport-Mesa, and we look forward to getting a new superintendent who will put money into the classroom and focus on what's happening in the classroom," said Kimberly Claytor, president of the teachers union.

The jury found Hubbard, who turns 55 on Thursday, guilty of two charges of felony misappropriation of public funds related to his time as head of the Beverly Hills Unified School District. He was acquitted of a third felony charge.

Trustee Walt Davenport, who has adamantly supported Hubbard, said he doesn't feel Hubbard mislead him about his innocence — he drew his own conclusions from what he knew.

"I'm very surprised," Davenport said. "I did not expect him to be found guilty."

Foley, the only trustee who voted against allowing Hubbard to go on paid administrative leave, wasn't surprised by the outcome, based on what she read in the newspapers.

"I'm glad that justice was done," said Foley, an attorney. "We can close this chapter in the district and move forward."

Trustees Dana Black, Judy Franco and Martha Fluor — each of whom supported Hubbard — did not return calls for comment.

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