Milpitas educator placed on leave amid alleged affair

MILPITAS – A top Milpitas education official has been placed on paid administrative leave after school board members learned he was having an extra-marital affair with a subordinate and denying it to board officials when confronted.

Black eprimanded and placed on leave

Milpitas Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Karl Black, 58, was reprimanded and placed on leave following a special session of the Board of Education on Tuesday.  Trustees also placed John Sinnott Elementary School Principal Stacy Espino on paid leave.  Espino, 37, was the other party engaged in the alleged affair and reported directly to Black.

The alleged relationship was exposed through a series of emails between Black and Espino.  The emails were discovered by reporters from the Milpitas Post through the California Public Records Act.

The Board of Education issued the reprimand this week in which the decision to place Black and Espino on paid leave was explained.

“The Board of Trustees believes and hereby finds Dr. Black has violated the district’s code of ethics based on his inappropriate relationship with a subordinate employee whom he directly supervises and that his actions harm, rather than enhance, the integrity of the district,” the document stated.

While the initial emails were first discovered nearly three months ago, the district waited to take action until investigating the incidents further, eventually discovering approximately 500 emails between the parties.

“A perusal of these additional emails has led the board to conclude, in its collective opinion, that Dr. Black has failed to act with the requisite high degree of honesty and integrity expected of the superintendent and leader of the district as required by board policy because of his personal and intimate relationship with a subordinate employee and his denials to the board when confronted with the fact of this relationship,” the reprimand continued.

“It also appears to the board that Dr. Black inappropriately used district resources, the district email system, to carry on correspondence of a personal nature with Ms. Espino during times when he was required to be performing the duties of his position as superintendent.”

Black, who has served on the board for 14 years, will not be fired from his post, meaning he will be able to collect his pension and retirement benefits.  He had been an educator for 35 years and was already due to retire on July 1, 2011.

“Based on the totality of his service and the fact that his employment contract will end in 30 days, the board has determined it is not in the best interest of the district or community it serves to expend the time, energy, effort or financial resources, especially in the time of severe budget cuts, to attempt to alter or modify the provisions of (his) contract,” a statement by the board read.

“Instead, the board is convinced that it is in the best interest of the students we serve to move forward and work with a new Superintendent who will pursue excellence in the educational programs we deliver to our children.”

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