When former Poway Unified superintendent John Collins pleaded not guilty to four felony charges at his arraignment in Superior Court downtown last week, it was the latest indignity of a two-year unraveling of his 40-year career in public education.
The district attorney’s office accuses Collins, 63, of misappropriating public money before he was fired for cause in July 2016 by an emboldened school board armed with damning forensic auditor findings. Collins faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of all the charges against him.
The school district fired him last year, accusing him of engaging in illegal self-dealing, unprofessional conduct, dishonesty and misappropriation and gifting of public funds. The district is also suing him in civil court to try to recover more than $320,000.
Recently, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing stripped Collins of his teaching and administrator credential.
If convicted of even one felony, Collins will lose at least a portion of his annual $296,500 pension.
As the bad times get worse for Collins, his supporters and detractors disagree about the cause of his downfall.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
PUSD Board needs to submit documentation on every administrator that was unlawfully paid for the vacation or sick days to the State of California Credential commission, so their teaching and administrator certificates can be terminate.Then do the same on the administrator that authorized these payments. The district will not have to fire them, because they will not have a certificate to work as a teacher or administrator.At the same time send the documentation to the District Attorney for criminal charges and have the school attorney file ligation on the return of the funds stolen from the district.
What about the reports of his alleged gambling problem? Apparently it was so bad that he had to sell his house and move into an apartment. Hard to imagine that he only received a paltry amount from the billion dollar bond fiasco. There might be more to find.
Great News!! This man is just an exceptional dishonest person and was able to corrupt his staff and the most of his board members. Collins lied to the public and the board on the Billion dollar bond scandal, directed the school district to discriminate against the disabled and Special Ed children, destroyed any parent that try to stand up to him and stole hundreds of thousands of dollars. Worst yet, he convince T J Zane, Michelle Ratcliff O'Connors and Andy Patapow to continue use the same financial and legal teams that sold the district the Capital Appreciation Bonds. Both Michelle and TJ campaigned to fire these advisors. Broken promises!
Collins is not solely responsible of these terrible deals; the previous board members blindly follow him along his destructive path. The CFO is up to her neck with Collins thefts, failing in her duties to the public by not following state education law. Mostly likely selling her vacation time and taking vacation time without the deduction from her accrued vacation pay. The District Attorney should be filing charges against her.
Collins will have his pension re-elevated, hopefully terminate his pension if found guilty.
Collins created an environment that Poway Unified School District was known to have this motto," there is the right way and there is the Poway way".If Collins is convicted, the activists that has been saying the "Poway Way" was the illegal way will be proven correct.
DA take notice, Collins is not the only one who did this! Collins had a habit of awarding his cult members with these unlawfully payments. In fact it was so common, I bet that administrators are lining up at the district offices to sale their vacation or sick pay this very day, and the corrupt administrators are still approving the unlawful payments.You know, it is the "Poway Way."
I just hope that Collins gives up everyone for a deal with the District Attorney. I am betting he will.
T J Zane, Michelle Ratcliff O'Connors do the right thing and have an accounting audit on employees selling their vacation pay and have vacations off the books and sent the report to the District Attorney and the state credential commission. They all need to go jail and lose their pensions. TJ and Michelle as trustees be faithful to your duty to safe guard the money for the taxpayers!!
ALL OF THE TEACHERS AND ADMINSTRATORS THAT SOLD YOUR VACATION OR SICK PAY BE WARNED; IF COLLINS IS CONVICTED, YOU WILL BE NEXT FOR THE DA AND STATE CREDENTIAL COMMISSION.
The "Poway Way" will be no longer, it will be just the legal way.
With credit to Bob Newhart:
“You say Collins could lose “at least a portion” of his $296,500 pension? That doesn’t seem like a big pension for someone who has led the district for a long, long time”.
“Wait! You say he’d only been there six years when they fired him. Now I understand, that’s a little under 50k for each year of service. What’s this nonsense I keep hearing about excessive pensions for public employees?
“………..What did you just say? Did you say that $296,500 was his ANNUAL pension?………"
“(Voice from the audience)…….Quick, bring the smelling salts, this poor taxpayer just fainted!”
@Bill Bradshaw To clarify, Collins led the district for 6 years, but he gets pension credit for his work before becoming superintendent. Collins has 32.629 years of credit with CalSTRS (which includes some unused sick time) and he has 8.035 years of credit with CalPERS from his early years in public education.
do the persons that take these positions go in corrupt, or do they get corrupted by the temptation ?