Karen Kelly won lump sum plus was reinstated to former job
March 13, 2012 12:37 PM
Beau Yarbrough, Staff Writer

HESPERIA • When Karen Kelly landed a settlement from Hesperia Unified School District, she got more than her six-figure job back: She also walked away with half a million dollars, newly obtained court records show.

Kelly first told HUSD officials about her romantic relationship with an outside contractor in November 2008, when she was serving as assistant superintendent of personnel services. As a result, she was suspended and then demoted twice in four months, with a $60,000 cut in her salary. The school board voted to replace her with a man paid more than she made. The contractor she had been romantically involved with while separated from her husband continued to work for HUSD, often serving as a public face for the district.

Kelly filed a lawsuit alleging a climate of sexism cost her the assistant superintendent’s position. It is the district’s written policy that the private lives of employees are their own business, and Kelly’s lawyers alleged in court documents that the district had consistently ignored similar relationships by male employees.

On Dec. 16 the district agreed to reinstate Kelly — who had been working as an elementary school assistant vice principal — as assistant superintendent of personnel services. She secured a three-year contract through December 2014 and a salary of $149,432 for her first year back.

Kelly and her attorneys also received a lump sum payment of $500,000, according to court records provided by the district Monday night. The district’s insurance company, Southern California Risk Management, paid $480,000 of the settlement, and the HUSD picked up the remaining $20,000.

Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at beau@HesperiaStar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.

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