Settlement recipients, third claim revealed in Vranesh hearing

Invasion of privacy, emotional distress included as reasons for $245,000 payouts

On Tuesday, the first day of the hearing in former Walnut Grove Elementary principal Jon Vranesh's appeal of his termination from the Pleasanton Unified School District, the identities of two district employees who received financial settlements were revealed, along with existence of a third settlement.

During her testimony, PUSD Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi named two Walnut Grove employees, Lynn Cronin and Marissa Swanson, as the recipients of $245,000 each in July, after filing claims alleging sexual harassment and a hostile work environment at the hands of Vranesh.

Vranesh was placed on administrative leave in October 2013 for allegedly creating a "hostile work environment."

During Tuesday's hearing session, Vranesh's attorney, Paul Kondrick, said their claims also included invasion of privacy and emotional distress, though not stated in the district's July press release about the settlements.

"Yes, that was included in their claim along with the rest of their claims of his behavior," Ahmadi said during her testimony at the Office of Administrative Hearing in Oakland.

Ahmadi was the first and only witness during Tuesday's session, during which she briefly talked about a third settlement being reached with a district employee who filed a claim alleging Vranesh used derogatory language, created a hostile work environment and was "manipulative" and "divisive."

Details about the third settlement have not been released.

Ahmadi's testimony also included a chronology of the events that led up to Vranesh's leave from Walnut Grove, as well as after.

The hearing included new charges filed by the district alleging Vranesh removed all the data from his work laptop and had downloaded confidential documents from the district's server, which is employee misconduct.

Vranesh nor his attorney could be reached for comment about the new allegations before press time.

Prior to Tuesday's opening statements, PUSD attorney Kim Kingsley Bogard asked that the hearing be closed to the public, citing confidential and personnel reasons, but the request was denied by Administrative Law Judge Diane Schneider.

In late January, an attempt by PUSD to deny Vranesh a hearing into its allegations against him was rejected by Schneider, and the district was ordered to immediately make more than 25 individuals available for depositions.

This is the first of the three weeks of hearing, which are scheduled to be held through Friday, and then again April 27 to 29, and May 6 to 8. They start each day at 9 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. at the Office of Administrative Hearing in Oakland, 1515 Clay Street, Ste. 206.

Several individuals who gave depositions, most of whom are district employees, are expected to testify at the hearing. The district's witnesses are scheduled to be heard first.

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