Buyout for Twin Rivers school official tops $260,000

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012 - 3:10 pm

Twin Rivers Unified School District has agreed to pay Deputy Superintendent Ziggy Robeson more than $260,000 to buy out her contract, The Bee has learned.

Robeson has been on paid administrative leave since April, when the Sacramento Police Department began investigating her role in alleged wrongdoing in the Twin Rivers school police force.

Robeson oversaw the district's Police Department, which has faced months of scrutiny, starting with allegations that officers excessively towed cars for profit.

In previous interviews and in pleas to trustees during school board meetings, Robeson insisted she did nothing wrong and deserved to have her job back.

"While their action was unexpected and remains unexplained, at least the board took action," Robeson said in a statement emailed to The Bee. "Though it would have been more practical and preferable to simply bring me back to work, I understand that given the new political climate at Twin Rivers, many boards often feel it easier to simply start fresh."

Robeson's buyout followed a 7-0 vote by trustees last week. But details of that vote were not made public after the meeting.

The buyout covered 18 months of salary, plus benefits for the same time period, sources told The Bee and Robeson confirmed. Those provisions were covered in Robeson's contract if she were fired without cause.

Robeson made $174,000 a year as deputy superintendent, plus auxiliary benefits such as an $800-a-month car allowance.

The Sacramento Police Department's investigation into the district's police force and those who oversaw it is ongoing. The Sacramento County grand jury released its report in June, which called on the district's newly elected school board to consider replacing Robeson and other top administrators.

Twin Rivers Unified is in the early stages of a superintendent search after Frank Porter retired in June.

District trustees have said Twin Rivers is headed in a positive direction. Last month, former grand jury foreman Don Prange Sr. lauded changes made within the district police force.

Robeson said she anticipates more "departures of experienced and talented staff over the next year."

"Many people have told me that the Twin Rivers staff is in turmoil, employees are uncertain, fearful and don't understand what direction the district is moving in," Robeson said in the statement. "The board and administration should move quickly and decisively to address current issues and challenges facing the district."

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