School District Knew Principal Was Abusive, Kept Him Employed

A San Diego-area school district knew a principal to be abusive, but kept him on the district’s payroll for years, the Voice of San Diego reported.

Chula Vista Principal Ernesto Zamudio had several allegations against him, including claims that he stole files and was abusive to school employees.

One teacher claimed Zamudio stole her personnel records in front of witnesses, and another claimed he ransacked her classroom. Other employees complained that Zamudio called them names, slandered, maligned and retaliated against them.

The Sweetwater School District hired a lawyer to look into the claims and determined there was “ample evidence” that Zamudio’s conduct was “abusive,” but not illegal. During the investigation, the Sweetwater School Board transferred Zamudio midyear from one high school to another, where he worked for an annual salary of $150,000 for 2 1/2 years.

Last June, Zamudio was abruptly transferred for a special assignment job within the district’s transportation department. The Voice of San Diego said it wasn’t clear why Zamudio was transferred again.

In September, Zamudio reached a settlement with the district stating he would agree to resign June 30 after spending six months on paid leave, in exchange for dropping a discrimination complaint he filed against the district. Zamudio has been on paid leave since January 3.

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