Morongo Basin, Ca.,- It’s official! The Morongo Unified School District Board has given Superintendent Cecila English the boot! At last evening’s school meeting, Tom Baumgarten, MUSD Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, was appointed acting superintendent until a new interim was selected.
MUSD President Ron Palmer read the following statement reporting out of closed session to a large crowd in attendance. He received a loud round of applause after stating the following:
The Morongo Unified School District Board of Education has placed Cecelia English on administrative leave effective June 21, 2014.
Be it resolved that the Board of Education appoint Tom Baumgarten as acting superintendent until a new/interim Superintendent is selected and Secretary to the Governing Board. Motion: Chris Proudfoot, Second: Karalee Hargrove. Vote 4-0-1, Donna Munoz was absent.
English was hired in June 2013 starting off in controversy with a three year contract at $175,000 annual salary. The split vote to hire her under those terms was 3-2 with Ronald Palmer and Karalee Hargrove voting no because they thought the contract was too high and it should only start out for a one year term. Hargrove even refused to sign the employment contract for English.
English has had a tumultuous year. At one meeting, it was reported close to 200 members of the Morongo Teachers Association stood up and turned their backs on her when she began to speak. Last month, the board was asked to consider giving English and the assistant superintendents the same raise the teachers had negotiated. English had a “me too” clause written in her contract which gave her the same percentage as she was negotiating for the teachers.
Dan Stork of KCDZFM.com wrote: Protests resumed at a recent Board meeting, when the Board considered raising her salary, and those of the three Assistant Superintendents, by a percentage matching that achieved by the two school employee unions, retroactive to last July. The raises for the assistant sup’s were approved, but the one for Dr. English was denied, by a 4-1 vote of the Board. Source>link
Giving English a raise after less than a year on the job did not sit well with parents and teachers who spoke against this idea. The Board approved a 5.77% raise for the three superintendents and voted against giving English a raise on a 4-1 vote, Donna Munoz the only member to vote yes. Sources close the this situation state Munoz did not disclose the fact that English is renting a home from her prior to casting her lone vote.
The meeting was Dave Price’s last as MUSD Superintendent of Business Services because he has taken a position with Hope Academy. All the Board members thanked him for his service and wished him well. Munoz has announced at another meeting she will not seek re-election in November.
Cecelia English walks away with a cool severance package of $262,500…joining the ranks of others that have been recently given the Morongo Basin Boot: Yucca Valley Town Manager Mark Nuaimi, Twentynine Palms City Managers-Richard Warne and Joe Guzzetta.
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