The San Ramon Valley school district has settled a lawsuit filed by a former principal of Monte Vista High School.

Rebecca Smith had asserted she was the victim of age discrimination and a district campaign to force her out after an incident involving her, an Airsoft pistol and a student.

The settlement was approved 4-0 by the school board, with board member Greg Marvel absent, district spokesman Terry Koehne said. Smith was removed from her job in fall 2009 and has been on paid leave since. In April she filed her lawsuit against the district in Contra Costa County Superior Court.

"We're happy to have an agreement and to move on," Koehne said.

Smith's attorney, Kathryn Dickson, could not be reached for comment.

As part of the agreement, neither side admits unlawful conduct or employment practices, and Smith will accept a teaching assignment with appropriate pay on the teacher salary schedule. Koehne said that will be at Venture Independent Study School.

Smith, 58, can use her accumulated sick leave and get her salary, without challenge from the district, until she reaches age 60, according to the agreement. Koehne would not say how much sick leave she has.

The agreement says she will retire the day after she turns 60, or by Sept. 21, 2011.

Upon retirement she will get all of the benefits from a 1998 agreement from a previous lawsuit involving Smith and other workers against the district over benefits. Koehne said that agreement pays a portion of health benefits for life.


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Koehne said the district does not have a summary of the settlement's monetary value. He would not give her principal's salary or where she will be on the teacher salary scale.

Teacher salaries top out at $82,144 a year. Those with a master's degree get a $2,277 stipend. The top high school principal salary is $128,206, with a $2,336 master's stipend.

Smith served as principal since 1996. In 2007, she had been accused of spending nearly $100,000 in student-raised funds without needed student input -- something that Smith explains in the suit as not being her fault.

Her lawsuit also claimed she was the victim of a campaign by Superintendent Steven Enoch, hired in summer 2008, to force her out. She said she was reprimanded for incidents in which she thought she was treated differently than younger principals and administrators. She also said the district defamed her by publicly discussing some issues and by not giving her due process before removing her as principal.

Court filings give Smith's description of the Sept. 29 Airsoft gun incident, which sources had told the Bay Area News Group happened before a girls' volleyball game, when a player had an inflatable toy that resembled a gun confiscated.

In a disciplinary meeting with Smith, the girl reportedly felt threatened when Smith pulled out an Airsoft pistol and pointed it at her. Smith's lawsuit described the Airsoft event as a "teachable moment" in which she held the pistol so the girl could see how hard it would be for police to tell if it was real.

Contact Eric Louie at 925-847-2123.