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Superintendent Placed On Administrative Leave Over Allegations Of Over-Compensation

LAWNDALE ( — A local school superintendent has been placed on administrative leave over allegations of an inflated salary and reported over-compensation following a closed-door school board meeting on Wednesday night.

Centinela Valley Union High School District Superintendent Jose Fernandez entered the closed-door meeting, which was reportedly called on short notice to focus on labor negotiations, with his attorney present.

The board's president announced Fernandez' suspension, pending a full investigation into the matter.

The meeting was also attended by a small number of parents and locals, and the reported secrecy of the school board has a number of parents upset.

"They have a community willing to stand up and do what they need to do, and they just keep dancing around like this is a personal checking account, and it's not," one parent said. "These are our kids, this is our community, they were appointed. They don't get that."

The district entered what was described as a "crisis" mode in February, after it was revealed that Superintendent Fernandez made compensation in 2013 in the total of over $660,000.

Meanwhile, a new list of issues have presented themselves against the district, including legal fees, which are reported to reach an average of over $1.7 million per year — 10 times what the majority of other districts of the same size are spending.

"We were always being told that they didn't have money, we were always being told there had to be cuts, (that) they have to get rid of our teachers," former district teacher Chris Morales said. "They had to get rid of (adult education)."

Additionally, the Los Angeles County Department of Education reports that the school board members themselves are receiving over-compensation, receiving stipends for cell phones and vehicles.

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