County Schools Chief Jon Gundry Gets $151,000 in Severance Pay

Jon Gundry walked away from his post as county schools chief with $151,000 in severance pay and benefits through July 2018. Sadly, this actually qualifies as a taxpayer bargain for the organization that oversees 31 public school districts and 265,000 students. In the past decade the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) has twice had to eat million-dollar housing loans when a superintendent hit the road, which could be why trustees are giving sunny-side-up quotes to the Mercury News and lamenting Gundry’s exit. Of course, this fails to account for a series of harassment claims against Gundry, leading to two lawsuits from former employees—top counsel Maribel Medina, who has apparently reached a verbal settlement with the SCCOE, and chief business officer Micaela Ochoa, who accused Gundry of pressuring her and others to lie to the IRS on Gundry’s behalf. These lawsuits came after Gundry paid the two employees more than $500,000 to leave, but none of that seemed to move the SCCOE board. The ax came only after Gundry struck an independent deal on compensation with SCCOE employees. And then there’s also Laurie Book, the director of internal business services, who filed a complaint similar to Ochoa’s regarding Gundry’s volatile behavior. This doesn’t even mention all of the contracts Gundry handed out to outside consultants—oftentimes without the board’s knowledge—while requiring little to no documentation for work completed. And there’s still a question of whether Gundry committed perjury in a sworn deposition while also wrongly accusing a reporter of hacking his Facebook page; if Gundry did commit a crime, his severance agreement says he’d be required to pay back his bronze parachute. The board is expected to install Mary Ann Dewan as interim superintendent, a role she held before Gundry came aboard, which means she’ll be tasked with controlling the purse strings for the dysfunctional Alum Rock Union School District. The school board is still very much under the microscope of the District Attorney’s office after an audit found trustees had improperly awarded millions of dollars to contractor Del Terra Group.

UPDATE: The SCCOE board appointed Mary Ann Dewan to the interim superintendent position Wednesday evening.

Mary Ann Dewan

Mary Ann Dewan

Send a tip to The Fly

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

6 Comments

  1. Despite the current national zeitgeist of governmental bodies that totally compromise their duty to honestly provide for their constituents, the Jon Gundry debacle stands out as ane that is an especially egregious offense against the community.

    For the County Office of Education to continue to oversee the finances of the Alum Rock School District is ludicrous given the current circumstances.

    So remind me again, what is the purpose of the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE)? Do school districts really benefit from the oversight from this corrupt governmental organization? Even if a miracle occurred and the SCCOE was not corrupt, do they add any value to education within our County? I think not!

    Why not consider disbanding all County Office of Education altogether and pass the cost-savings back to the taxpayers who could really use the money?

    The SCCOE is an abomination and deserves to be dissolved as soon as possible.

  2. Corruption is it’s own reward in a one party system, and you get a bonus when you get cought.
    How only Democratic!

  3. dysfunctional Alum Rock Union School District

    That sums up the whole problem. Don’t have the wasted time to mention all the past and current people on this board, but there is a long list of crooks.

    You get what you vote for, idiots all.

  4. The primary job of the Board of the Santa Clara County Office of Education is to hire a highly qualified superintendent who can lead the school districts within the County in a way that they will continue to provide second to none service to the boys and girls of this County.

    The Board hired Jon Gundry – a scoundrel and a thief.

    Based on this colossal failure every member of the Board should resign as that would be the right thing to do in this circumstance.

    The Board members will not resign because they themselves are scoundrels and thieves.

    They treat the County Office of Education as political theater where they can strut their pomposity, narcissism, and skulduggery – as a possible stepping stone to higher public office! It is a sickening situation.

    Anthony Muhammed once said that politics will eat structure for lunch and will spit it out simply because it can.

    It is time for the Community to rise up against this failed Board and Vote them out. Enough is Enough!

    Onward!

    • > It is time for the Community to rise up against this failed Board and Vote them out. Enough is Enough!
      Onward!

      I dunno.

      Wouldn’t this put scoundrels and thieves out on the street? How would they feed themselves?

      They might end up resorting to a life of crime.

      Think of the children.

      Oh wait. They’re in charge of the children. They’re a school board.

  5. Ooops!

    I forgot this Board previously hired Xavier De La Torre! Another “gem” of a superintendent! A supreme scoundrel and thief!

    How many chances should this Board get to hire a new superintendent?

    So as you sow, so shall you reap!

    Losers all! And we are all losers being under the leadership of this band of scoundrels.

Leave a Reply