Bailey, Modesto schools reach a settlement

Modesto City Schools officials reached a financial settlement with the district’s No. 2 in charge, who’s been on paid leave since April 27. Deputy Superintendent of business services Debbe Bailey signed the agreement this afternoon. It calls for a monetary buyout of her $165,000-a-year contract, on which one year remained

The document won’t be released publicly for seven days, the period of time Bailey has to back out of the agreement, said board President Steve Grenbeaux. The agreement includes a confidentiality clause that restricts Bailey from talking about its terms.

The settlement could include the rest of Bailey’s salary, retirement benefits, legal fees or other extras.

Though officials won’t give details, it’s clear Bailey won’t be returning to the district. The tentative plan is to continue with business services director Dennis Snelling and budget manager Julie Chapin as heads of the department, Grenbeaux said.

Grenbeaux said he’s glad to see an end to the discord in sight.

“This gives the staff a chance to start working on other issues. They’ve spend a lot of time, energy and effort to get this done,” he said.

The settlement ends a power struggle between Bailey and Superintendent Arturo Flores that sparked when Flores took over the reins of Modesto City Schools two years ago and boiled over in the last six months.

Flores is on vacation and could not be reached for comment.

Flores released Bailey’s performance review to The Bee a month ago, along with pages of her e-mails to the teachers union, superintendent’s secretary Pat Nan, Trustee Cindy Marks and others that he said highlight her disloyalty to him and the district. Bailey contended that her correspondence was taken out of context, and that she and Flores butted heads because she had legitimate concerns about the district’s financial solvency under his leadership.

Bailey has held her position for eight years. She plans to spend some time with her family, she said in an interview with The Bee.In retirement, she said she’ll serve as a consultant for districts or other agencies.