The Luther Burbank School District paid former Superintendent Jan Kaay, who resigned suddenly April 30, one year's salary in a settlement that required her and board members not to speak badly about each other.

The board also has decided to pay its former superintendent, Richard Rodriguez, $725 per day to act as the district's interim chief.

The one-school district, which serves about 600 students mostly from low-income and immigrant families, agreed to pay Kaay her $135,000 annual salary through April 2015. She becomes the third superintendent in just over six years that the tiny district is paying beyond their tenure.

Previously, board President Lorraine Garza had said that the board did not have any problems with Kaay. "Jan was very well loved," Garza said. "I don't know what her reason for leaving is."

Kaay could not be reached for comment. She has worked for the district since 2002, as instructional services director and as a teacher before being named superintendent.

She and the board, in the April agreement, agreed to settle differences, including legal, contractual and discrimination claims.

Both deals have angered employees, who had not been informed about the agreements. Teachers received a 2 percent raise this school year, plus a 2 percent bonus, after several years without pay raises. They've also had increased class sizes, and lost support staff such for the library and counseling.

Burbank, which serves about 33 blocks in a mostly unincorporated area of San Jose near northeast of the interchange of Interstates 280 and 880, runs one campus serving preschool through eighth grade.

During the district's spring break, with minimal public notice, the board convened two special meetings. The board does not post its agendas online. At the second one, the school board accepted Kaay's resignation and appointed Rodriguez. Surprised employees received letters afterward informing them of the change.

Rodriguez was ousted in 2008, when the board bought out his contract. But returned as interim superintendent in 2011 when a new board majority -- three of whom he had recruited and had campaigned for -- took power. Then he recommended the board appoint Kaay.

During her three-year tenure he has served as an unpaid adviser to the board, and had sat in on closed sessions and negotiated the teachers' contract.

While Garza had denied the board had any issues with Kaay, its attorney, Richard Noack, wrote, "There are confidential medical, personnel, and potential litigation justifications for the board's action that are not subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act. The board responsibly chose to eliminate potential liability in a way that would not have happened if Ms. Kaay's contract had simply been bought out and they believe this agreement is in the best interests of the district."

Contact Sharon Noguchi at 408-271-3775. Follow her at Twitter.com/NoguchiOnK12.



Jan Kaay separation agreement