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Kari McVeigh responds to attacks

  • Written by Kari McVeigh

Yesterday, Jack Cory released news through Facebook and today through an email from the San Juan County Republicans of a situation I was embroiled in over 11 years ago in an attempt to damage my campaign. They released a news article stating that I had been fired from New Haven Unified School District and received a large financial buyout as a result. 

That is false. Here are the facts: First and foremost, I was not fired, I officially retired and resigned in the morning. That afternoon the School Board called an emergency meeting, where they essentially said, 'you can't retire, we're firing you.' My attorney reminded them you can’t fire someone who has already quit. 

I resigned because the Board challenged my hiring of well vetted, highly qualified Principal candidates. They wanted to advance race-based hiring. That was completely unacceptable to me. I was dedicated to hiring the most qualified candidate regardless of race. 

I announced my retirement publicly in a press release, noting that the cause was "irreconcilable differences" with the Board. My honesty infuriated the Board and they became determined to exact retribution by attempting to terminate me, in order to deny me my contractual retirement benefits. The key retirement benefit they sought to deprive me of was one that had been standard in their superintendent contracts for decades – lifetime health care insurance. Other benefits included severance pay in an amount significantly less than the press reported. 

Their actions left me no choice but to file a legal challenge. After more than a year, we reached a settlement agreement. This was one of the most painful professional experiences of my career but it certainly does not negate all the amazing work we did in that district by collaboratively balancing a budget during the Great Recession or the creation of award-winning programs that led us to receiving the $29 million Race to the Top Grant. I stand today fully proud of all my accomplishments as their Superintendent. 

When I became Superintendent of San Juan Island School District Jack Cory brought the issue up during a Rotary meeting.  Like now, I explained it to Rotary and the issue seemingly was put to rest with no further questions. Until now….

I was fully transparent with my campaign manager about it when we first discussed the possibility of my run for county council.  Jack Cory and his allies see my strength as a candidate and, like so many in politics these days, have evidently chosen the low road in this contest. I will not go there.

Kari McVeigh