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Former San Ysidro school superintendent sentenced in contracting scandal

Ex-school superintendent sentenced to two months in custody

A former San Ysidro school superintendent was sentenced Tuesday to two months in federal custody and a $5,000 fine after pleading guilty to demanding political contributions from a contractor in exchange for consideration for building contracts.

Manuel Paul, 63, of Bonita, pleaded guilty in San Diego federal court to requesting that a contractor provide $3,600 in contributions to three school board candidates in exchange for a possible building contract. All three candidates, supportive of Paul, were elected.

Paul was an employee of the San Ysidro School District for 38 years as a teacher, principal and superintendent. After being indicted he resigned in 2013.

"Thousands of children relied on you for sound judgment," said U.S. Magistrate Judge William Gallo. "Abuse of trust is a mortal sin that is difficult to excuse."

Paul was ordered to report to federal prison in downtown San Diego on Jan. 27. He was among 18 individuals at three school districts in the southern region of San Diego County charged as part of a "pay to play" scheme.

Separate from his guilty plea, Paul entered into a stipulation with California's Fair Political Practices Commission to pay a $5,000 fine.

The San Ysidro district has five elementary schools, one middle school and several preschools and 5,500 students.

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