Whether he is acquitted or convicted on charges of misappropriation of public funds, former Beverly Hills Unified School District Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard's retirement plan is expected to remain in place.
By Britney Barnes, Los Angeles Times | http://lat.ms/wdJ5Vz
January 8, 2012 :: Whether he is acquitted or convicted of criminal charges, former Beverly Hills Unified School District Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard is unlikely to lose his retirement plan, according to state pension officials.
A conviction for Hubbard on any of the three felonies he faces for alleged misappropriation of public funds could result in prison time or probation and lead to the loss of his credentials, but nothing in current law would affect his pension with the California State Teachers' Retirement System, according to a CalSTRS spokesman.
Hubbard, 54, who became superintendent of the Newport-Mesa Unified School District after he left the Beverly Hills post in 2006, has been paying into CalSTRS for about 28 years and is eligible to retire with full benefits at 60, according to the most recent data available.
Retiring at an earlier age would affect just the amount he receives annually from the system. Employees who pay into the system for at least five years are eligible for benefits.
Assembly Bill 1433, which was introduced in August but has not been passed, could curtail the retirement benefit rights of public employees convicted of certain felonies. Under the legislation, the convicted employees would be entitled only to the money they paid into the public retirement system, without interest.
A similar law is already on the books for elected officials. That law, however, would not affect Hubbard, who was appointed to his position.
With Hubbard's trial slated to start this week in Los Angeles County Superior Court, speculation has abounded that he will retire and need only wait until Jan. 26 — his 55th birthday — to collect his full retirement benefits.
If Hubbard did retire after his birthday, he would collect about 1.4% of his largest salary for every year he's worked, versus the 2% he could receive if he worked until 60.
The monthly amount Hubbard would receive at 60 isn't available until after he applies for retirement, according to CalSTRS.
Benefits are determined by years of service, age and single highest compensation. Hubbard's most recent compensation on file with CalSTRS is $305,920.
Speculation on the superintendent's retirement started after he was charged with two felony counts of misappropriation of public funds in late 2010. A third charge was added in October.
Prosecutors allege that Hubbard, when he served as Beverly Hills Unified's superintendent, gave a $20,000 stipend, without school board approval, to his subordinate, Karen Anne Christiansen. He is also accused of illegally increasing her car allowance.
After being found guilty in November on four counts of conflict of interest, Christiansen, 54, was sentenced Thursday to four years and four months in prison and ordered to pay $2 million in restitution.
Hubbard's third charge of misappropriation of public funds came after a grand jury indictment alleging that he gave an illegal bonus to another Beverly Hills subordinate, Nora Roque. Roque is now employed at Newport-Mesa Unified and has not been accused of wrongdoing.