Trial's outcome unlikely to affect Hubbard's pension [Corrected]

Whether he is acquitted or convicted of criminal charges, the Newport-Mesa Unified superintendent's retirement plan appears secure, state pension officials said.

An earlier version incorrectly stated that a grand jury indictment alleged Newport-Mesa Unified School District Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard gave Nora Roque an illegal bonus. He is accused of giving her an illegal pay raise.

A conviction for Jeffrey Hubbard on any of the three felonies he faces for alleged misappropriation of public funds could result in prison time or probation and lead to the loss of his credentials, but nothing in current law would affect his pension with the California State Teachers' Retirement System, according to a CalSTRS spokesman.

Hubbard, 54, has been paying into CalSTRS for about 28 years and is eligible to retire with full benefits at 60, according to the most recent data available.

Retiring at an earlier age would just affect the amount he receives annually from the system. Employees who pay into the system for at least five years are eligible for benefits.

Assembly Bill 1433, which was introduced in August but has not yet been passed, could curtail the retirement benefit rights of public employees convicted of certain felonies. Under the legislation, the convicted employees would only be entitled to the money they paid into the public retirement system, without interest.

A similar law is already on the books for elected officials. That law, however, would not affect Hubbard, who was appointed to his position.

With Hubbard's trial slated to start next week, speculation has abounded that Hubbard will retire and need only wait until Jan. 26 — his 55th birthday — to retire with his full retirement benefits.

If Hubbard did retire after his birthday, he would collect about 1.4% of his largest salary for every year he's worked, versus the 2% he could receive if he worked until 60.

The monthly amount Hubbard would receive at 60 isn't available until after he applies for retirement, according to CalSTRS.

Benefits are determined by years of service, age and single-highest compensation. Hubbard's most recent compensation on file with CalSTRS is $305,920.

Speculation on the superintendent's retirement started after he was charged with two felony counts of misappropriation of public funds in late 2010, and a third charge in October.

Prosecutors allege Hubbard, when he served as Beverly Hills Unified's superintendent, gave a $20,000 stipend, without school board approval, to his subordinate, Karen Anne Christiansen. He is also accused of illegally increasing her car allowance.

After being found guilty in November for four counts of conflict of interest, Christiansen, 54, was sentenced Thursday to four years and four months in prison and ordered to pay $2 million in restitution.

Hubbard's third charge of misappropriation of public funds came after a grand jury indictment alleging he gave an illegal pay increase to another Beverly Hills subordinate, Nora Roque. Roque is now employed at Newport-Mesa Unified and has not been accused of wrongdoing.

Hubbard is expected to begin trial next week in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Twitter: @britneyjbarnes

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