CVCHS drama draws ire of County Board

By Tamara Steiner on June 4, 2018

Linzey_Ribbon Cutting for websiteNearly five weeks after the abrupt departure on May 11 of Clayton Valley Charter High School Executive Director David Linzey and his wife Eileen Linzey, the school’s chief program officer, the governing board is still stubbornly silent on why.

In a hastily called special meeting May 14, the agenda listed an item for “Public Employee: Discipline/Dismissal/Release,” followed by a separate item for “Conference with Legal Counsel” over two cases of anticipated litigation.

After 90 minutes in closed session, the board took no action on the closed session items and further tabled an item to approve a legal services agreement with a San Francisco law firm specializing in employment law.

The day after the meeting, the board issued a curtly worded statement that simply said David and Eileen Linzey had left CVCHS and would not be returning.

On May 21, the board again met in closed session. They removed David Linzey from all bank accounts and approved an interim executive director. Again, the board stayed silent on the Linzeys’ departure.

According to Interim Director Bob Hampton, both David and Eileen Linzey are on paid administrative leave until the end of their contracts in August 2019.

In 2015, David Linzey’s salary was $241,426, with 3 percent annual increases. In December 2017, the board hired Eileen Linzey at an annual salary of $169,000.

CVCHS has seen more than its share of drama since inception in 2012, with a string of staff upheavals, lawsuits and turnover. The school had four principals in one 12-month period. On April 20, Chief Innovation Officer Ted Meriam resigned.

The board has consistently denied public records requests for the Linzeys’ current contracts and that of Assistant Superintendent Ron Leone – a county superintendent candidate, despite being instructed by the county Board of Education to provide the documents. Linzey hired Leone without board approval in December 2017.

In a June 1 email to the Pioneer, Leone said he was hired for $42,000 to oversee a program that gives failing students a chance to make up credits and to provide assistance with discipline and other supervision as needed. His contract expires June 30, and he will not be returning.

According to BOE communications director Terry Koehne, as of June 3, the CVCHS board had still not provided any documentation or explanation for the Linzeys’ abrupt departure.

“The silence is a continuing concern,” Koehne told the Pioneer in a June 1 interview. “All we have now is conjecture.”

The day after the May 15 board meeting, county BOE Associate Superintendent Bill Clark notified governing board chair Kristy Downs that the county would be conducting both a forensic financial audit and an audit of the school’s hiring policies. He further warned the school not to destroy any financial records or documents pertaining to contracts and hiring. According to Koehne, the financial audit will begin on June 12.

A third letter to the CVCHS board called into question the school’s plans for staffing in light of the recent senior administration departures and the stated interest of several staff moving to a new technical charter school in Antioch. The letter also asked the board for assurance of compliance with the Brown Act.

After talking with school officials, Koehne said the BOE is satisfied that the school can meet its 2019 staffing needs.

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