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Special report: Deals speed teacher dismissals

When Orange County's school districts want to get rid of problem teachers, the solution isn't always to fire them.

District officials often allow educators to resign even after initiating termination proceedings against them, and sometimes with settlement payouts totaling thousands of dollars.

The Register reviewed 36 cases involving O.C. teachers who resigned or were forced out of their jobs amid misconduct probes over the past five years, finding that about one-third of them reached settlement agreements with their former employers in exchange for their resignations.

In one case, the settlement payout amounted to three-quarters of the teacher's annual salary.

Experts say these settlement agreements – released to the Register via a records request – shine a rare spotlight on the uphill legal battle that districts face in firing a teacher, even after districts make the tough decision to initiate termination proceedings.


Settlements common in effort to fire teachers: Twelve of 36 cases ended in settlements, a tool districts say helps speed teacher removals.

Struggles continue for exonerated teacher: Oxford Academy's Christopher Ontiveros was acquitted of five felony charges that he engaged in an unlawful relationship with a 17-year-old, but the school district continues to push for his dismissal.

Teacher dismissals pose challenges for districts: Orange County school districts grapple with options when deciding whether to remove teachers for misconduct.

O.C.'s bad teachers range from sex offenders to bullies: Thirty-six cases across 14 school districts offer a view of misconduct that includes well-known case types to unexpected behaviors.

Database: O.C. teacher dismissal cases

Database: California teacher credential actions, 2007-12

About this project: How the Register gathered this data.

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