A lawsuit accuses the head of the largest vocational education center in Northern California of misusing public funds, retaliation and fraudulently awarding teaching credentials. Filed last week in federal court, the claim alleges Alyssa Lynch, superintendent of Santa Clara County’s Metropolitan Education District (MetroED), intimidated unionized employees, failed to keep its campus safe and bullied the plaintiff, a hearing-impaired teacher named Mark Adams. Lynch didn’t return Fly’s request for comment. Neither did Adams or his attorney, San Diego-based Kevin Mirch. District spokesman Jason Sholl, however, said he can’t comment on pending litigation. But the allegations echo those made by several former teachers in 2015, when the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) found that MetroED failed all but one of the legal benchmarks to certify teachers. The CTC suspended the credentialing program indefinitely, while Lynch blamed the debacle on an employee’s departure. On average, MetroEd produced up to 90 graduates each school year, and these students were suddenly forced to transfer to programs as far away as San Joaquin, Fresno and Sonoma counties. Instead of trying to turn around the failing credentialing program, Adams claims, Lynch overstated the number of teachers to administrators “whenever necessary.” The lawsuit adds that “MetroED hired cheaper, less qualified individuals to teach students” as a way to divert funds to go toward “unqualified non-education projects.” This resulted in less of a “full time school, but instead a camouflaged lobbying institution diverting education funding from MetroED to be used for its administrative political agendas.” Allegations of institutional dysfunction stem from Adams’ personnel conflict, which apparently began with his repeated requests for tighter security on campus. Adams says he tried to report a fight between two students to his boss, Silicon Valley Career Technical Education Center director Marianne Cartan, who allegedly blamed the incident on his hearing loss. By ignoring the security needs, Adams claims, the agency could allocate more funding for Lynch's lobbying, personal expenses and “golden parachutes.”
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This article has been updated to correct the name of the plaintiff.