All that fuss and hard feelings for $56,000?
That’s what parents, district employees and community members are
asking in the wake of the Burbank Unified School District’s
settlement with former superintendent David Aponik.
Aponik, popular with students, parents and employees, was
unceremoniously removed from the superintendent’s job in March 2002
and reassigned to a psychologist’s position. The BUSD board, which
never gave a specific reason why Aponik was dismissed -- a decision
made even more controversial by the fact he had received positive
performance reviews and raises during his tenure -- immediately
caught flak from community members, some of whom mounted an
unsuccessful recall effort against the five board members.
The effort eventually was dropped, but the fallout from the Aponik
fiasco, combined with the district’s financial woes and some
questionable decision-making tactics by the board, led directly to
Elena Hubbell, Mike McDonald and Richard Raad failing to be
re-elected to the board last spring.
Aponik, who tried to mediate a settlement from the district,
eventually sued BUSD in an effort to recoup some of the salary he
wouldn’t get being superintendent. A settlement agreement was
announced June 24 that will pay Aponik $56,250 and that will “fully
and finally [settle] all claims and disputes in the lawsuit brought
against the Burbank Unified School District by Dr. Aponik, and there
shall be no appeal or new lawsuit regarding such claims and
disputes,” according to a district-issued statement.
So students, parents, employees and community members saw
Burbank’s educational world turned upside down in the course of a
year, with an indeterminate amount of ill will generated toward the
board and a new superintendent and three new board members taking the
reins of a financially strapped district still struggling to set
The payoff for all that trouble? $56,250.
Hardly seems worth it.