Alum Rock Schools Chief Keeps Job After Funds Controversy

Alum Rock Unified School District's superintendent will keep her seat and some contracts with Del Terra Real Estate have been terminated as a result of Tuesday night's school board meeting, according to the Community for Better Alum Rock Schools coalition.

The special meeting, which was held after a news conference held at the district offices in support of Superintendent Hilaria Bauer earlier in the day, was scheduled to discuss a possible dismissal of Bauer and was called for by board trustee Khanh Tran.

The board did not take disciplinary action during their closed session meeting and did not disclose to the community whether a vote was taken or if the matter had been tabled, the Community for Better Alum Rock Schools said.

At the news conference, elected leaders and community members alleged that the potential ousting of Bauer at this time was suspicious and could serve as "a smoke-screen to the Del Terra controversy."

Del Terra Real Estate was the company selected to be in charge of program and construction management for bond measures through the school district in 2013, the coalition said.

An initial audit done by the Santa Clara County Office of Education after an anonymous tip that the district may have been fraudulently billed revealed evidence of fraud and misappropriation of funds, the County of Superintendent of Schools at the time, Jon Gundry, confirmed in his summary.

That audit also found that no citizens' oversight committee was overseeing the projects or expenditures because no reporting was done and that board members were personally involved with the bidding and contract management, Gundry said.

Assemblymember Ash Kalra and state Sen. Jim Beall requested another audit of the district's funds last Thursday.

The board voted to terminate the program management contracts with Del Terra Real Estate for bond measures I and J, but the controversial Southern California-based company still retains the construction management contracts for the two bond measure projects.

The option to terminate the contracts was placed on the agenda at the request of board trustee Andres Quintero.

The termination of the program management contracts means that Del Terra can no longer manage their own work, the coalition of parents, teachers and community members said.

Board members Quintero, Tran and Karen Martinez voted for terminating the contracts while Esau Herrera voted against doing so. Trustee Dolores Marquez had a "family matter" and left the meeting prior to the vote.

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