Former Hesperia Unified School District Superintendent Hank Richardson will be on the district's payroll for two more years, earning an annual salary of $165,525, plus benefits, even after the school board finds a replacement for him.

But don't expect former Richardson or board members to frankly discuss why they parted ways any time soon: The terms of Richardson's settlement and release agreement prevent either party from making disparaging or derogatory remarks about one another. They are also barred from taking legal action against each other, even if new information regarding the situation is later discovered.

The terms of the settlement agreement, signed by Richardson on July 31 and approved by the board at their August 7 meeting, keep him on administrative leave through February 13, 2008. The board originally placed him on leave on July 16 and he reportedly cleaned out his office at the end of the month.

While on leave, Richardson "will make himself available to district personnel by telephone to assist in the transition of a new superintendent, and further agrees to make himself available to district personnel to assist in responding to claims made by third parties or entities against the district," the settlement agreement reads in part.

But for the 18 months following that, until August 14, 2009, Richardson will continue to collect his paycheck, minus some perks, like the use of a district car and cell phone, but "shall have no further obligation to perform the duties and functions of superintendent."

And finally, the school board is required to provide a letter of recommendation for Richardson, on district letterhead and signed by all five board members.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.