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Orland Unified School District ousts superintendent

By Colin Steiner, csteiner@krcrtv.com
Published On: Dec 06 2013 06:00:59 PM CST
Orland Unified School District ousts superintendent
ORLAND, Calif. -

After months of outrage from employees and the public, the Orland Unified School District voted unanimously Friday to "approve a separation agreement" with its superintendent of schools.

The school district board met behind closed doors for more than an hour-and-a-half before announcing a decision to a room of about 25 waiting members of the public.

"The Orland Unified School District board has voted unanimously to approve a separation agreement between OUSD and the superintendent of schools, effective at the end of today," announced School Board President Larry Donnelly.

Attendees, which included a few employees but mostly parents and interested community members, were initially outraged after the board decided to pull an item off the agenda that included a performance evaluation for Superintendent Chris von Kleist.

After the announcement, many were still angry that the board wouldn't clarify why von Kleist was let go and what the terms of the agreement are.

"Well I'm really disappointed in the board that they didn't give us more information about the reasons for the separation and, specifically, the cost to the district that's involved," said Lillian Thomas, who had served on the Orland elementary school board for 20 years before unification many years ago. "There has been such a lack of transparency in the actions of the board and we just want more forthright behavior."

The attorney for OUSD advised the board not to speak about the matter and members refused to comment once the meeting was adjourned.

How much Von Kleist will be payed of his reported $174,000 salary is one of the major concerns, according to parents at the meeting.

The embattled superintendent -- along with business manager Laura Holderfield -- had been criticized for wanting to remove library clerks and special education aids, as well as cut five days from the school year.

Von Kleist was not at the special meeting of the board on Friday.