For the third time in three years, the Hesperia Unified School District is without an assistant superintendent of personnel services.


At Monday's meeting, the HUSD school board voted to terminate the contract of Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Services Karen Kelly.


Kelly was terminated "without cause," meaning she did not violate any of the terms of the contract she signed in May 2008. The board did not disclose the reasons behind the decision, which was made behind closed doors before the start of the public portion of the school board meeting.


Kelly had been appointed to the position following the previous two assistant superintendents being named district superintendent: Hank Richardson left the position to become district superintendent in August 2006. His successor, Mark McKinney, was named interim superintendent in August 2007, after the board placed Richardson on leave the month before.


Like Richardson -- who will be paid through August of this year -- Kelly's staying on the district payroll for now. Per the terms of her contract, Kelly's contract was terminated without cause, and will thus be paid for the duration of her contract, which ends in April 2011.


"Additionally," her contract reads in part, "Unless otherwise agreed to in writing, the district shall place the assistant superintendent in a certificated/classified management position within the district. If the assistant superintendent is terminated without cause and decides to leave the district, he/she shall be provided salary as well as health and welfare benefits for a minimum of six months or a maximum of 12 months at the board's discretion."


Kelly's starting salary in 2008 was $138,653 and like most HUSD employees, she is eligible for automatic pay hikes based on years of service. She also receives health and welfare benefits, travel expenses and a cell phone.


A new assistant superintendent of personnel services was not named at Monday's meeting.


"We will make that final determination on the 22nd," McKinney said on Friday. "That's our next board meeting."


Despite three senior managers leaving the department in three years, McKinney said the personnel department will continue to function -- and with Kelly's help, until at least the 22nd.


"Right now, we'll continue on," said McKinney. "I've got great staff that will continue to work."


The next meeting of the HUSD school board will be held on June 22, 2009, at 6 p.m. in the HUSD Educational Support Center Annex, 15576 Main Street.


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