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Not much of a payoff for all that trouble

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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

itself right.

The payoff for all that trouble? $56,250.

Hardly seems worth it.


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