Former Poway Unified School District Superintendent John Collins pleaded guilty April 25 to a misdemeanor as part of a deal that resolved criminal and civil cases – including four felony charges for misappropriations of public funds.
Collins pleaded guilty to failing to properly file a state-mandated economic interest form to report consultant income received while working as superintendent.
Collins, who served as superintendent from 2010 to 2016, was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to comply with the terms of a civil settlement reached simultaneously with the school district. To settle the civil case, he agreed to pay Poway Unified $185,000 over the next 18 months. If the payments are not made, Collins could face a year in jail and a $10,000 fine.
The former school leader had been facing up to five to seven years in custody if convicted on all charges, which were tied to his alleged misuse of the district credit card and excessive vacation and leave time.
Collins’ guilty plea will not affect his $296,500 annual pension, since he pleaded to a misdemeanor charge and not a felony.
Poway Unified fired and then sued Collins in 2016 for alleged fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. The district sought to recover $300,000 to $400,000 in payments the district alleged Collins took beyond what he was owed in his contract. (Source: Voice of San Diego, April 25.)