Crime - Sacto 911

Quinn resigns from Twin Rivers school board after felony plea

Cortez Quinn, in court on Wednesday, has resigned from the Twin Rivers school board after pleading no contest to a felony count.
Cortez Quinn, in court on Wednesday, has resigned from the Twin Rivers school board after pleading no contest to a felony count. hamezcua@sacbee.com

The picture and biography of Cortez Quinn are no longer on the Twin Rivers Unified School District website.

The beleaguered trustee resigned Thursday – one day after he pleaded no contest to a felony count of conspiracy to obstruct justice in a paternity case and two misdemeanors for illegally taking gifts and loans from a school district employee. District and county officials confirmed his resignation on Monday.

The District Attorney’s Office said Quinn, 47, colluded with a laboratory technician to submit a false DNA sample after the same Twin Rivers Unified employee filed a legal action saying he was the father of her child.

In his letter of resignation, obtained from the Sacramento County Office of Education, Quinn said he supports the district’s goals but decided to step down due to personal circumstances.

“My continued service on this Board would cause an undue distraction and unfairly divert focus from continual improvement and progress toward these goals,” he wrote. “I believe it is in the best interest of this district and its students that I step down.”

Quinn said he plans to “continue to work to improve educational quality and opportunities for our students.” Under his plea agreement, he cannot run for office or be a lobbyist for four years.

Under California law, Quinn would have been forced to vacate his office after his Dec. 1 sentencing had he not resigned.

Quinn initially faced up to 14 years’ imprisonment on 13 felony and five misdemeanor charges. Under the plea agreement, he faces up to one year in county jail and five years of formal probation. Quinn did not return a call for comment.

Twin Rivers Unified leaders are wasting no time moving on.

Tuesday night’s school board agenda includes a discussion about how to fill Quinn’s Area 5 seat, which represents North Natomas and Robla.

“I’m looking forward to moving on in a positive way,” said Trustee Bob Bastian.

If Quinn had quit before the Aug. 8 filing deadline for candidates, the district would have been able to fill the vacancy in the Nov. 4 general election. Instead, the school board will have to decide whether to appoint someone to the seat or to call a special election. The board has 60 days from the time the seat is vacated to order an election or make a provisional appointment, according to state law.

“I’m not in favor of having an expensive election,” Bastian said. “I’d like to select someone.”

Bastian would prefer to have a town hall meeting in Area 5 to get community input before interviewing candidates.

Quinn’s tenure has been tumultuous since the Fair Political Practices Commission began investigating his unreported gifts and loans in 2012. In February 2013, the commission fined him $14,000 for accepting loans and gifts from a school district employee with whom he was having a relationship. The board discussed removing him as board president, but opted against it.

Trustees discussed removing Quinn from the board after his arrest in November, but discovered that state law prohibited that action without a conviction. Instead, the board passed a resolution calling for Quinn to step down. He refused, taking a 90-day leave of absence instead.

“The district has never lost its focus of offering a safe learning environment for our children and we will continue to do that,” Trustee Mike Baker said Monday of the episode.

Call The Bee’s Diana Lambert, (916) 321-1090. Follow her on Twitter @dianalambert.

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