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Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 19:24
EL PASO – Wanting to focus on his own criminal defense, while allowing the district to move forward, Dr. Lorenzo Garcia submitted a letter of resignation to the school board which it accepted Tuesday night.
His last day with the district is November 30th.
"I think that he has made every effort to think of the district first," said school board president Isela Castañon-Williams. She answered questions from reporters Wednesday afternoon about the details of Garcia's resignation and what the district will do next.
"We see this time as a time of opportunity for us to make some important shifts in the direction of the school district," she said.
In June, the FBI arrested Garcia on charges of fraud and theft of district funds. The school board placed him on unpaid administrative leave. Last week, Garcia submitted the letter of resignation to the board.
"I think he made a very wise decision,” said Castañon-Williams. “He has a great challenge before him."
In the letter Garcia wrote, "…my resignation should not be perceived as an admission of guilt." He went on to say he wanted to resign, "…in order to concentrate on my own defense and allow the district to move forward without further distractions."
Castañon-Williams said Garcia won't get any severance pay, but NewsChannel 9 found out he will walk away with a large chunk of change.
"His contract stipulates that upon his separation, that he would be entitled to payment for up to 150 days of his already earned leave," Castañon-Williams told reporters.
The district said that adds up to $177,414. Garcia was making $1,182.76 per day. Garcia will also walk away with a $12,500 retention bonus he earned last summer.
"At this point all we can do is move forward and make sure we take all the steps we can take to prevent a similar situation in the future," said Castañon-Williams.
The district must now being the process of finding a new superintendent, but that process has yet to begin.
Garcia's resignation letter is attached.