Amid an investigation of Parlier Unified’s finances, Superintendent Edward Lucero has been placed on administrative leave, following former district leader Gerardo Alvarez, who was put on leave in 2015.
According to a news release this week, Lucero – who stepped up to fill in for Alvarez after a Fresno County grand jury report found the district had misused millions of dollars – was placed on paid leave along with Assistant Superintendent Lou Saephan.
The district is staying quiet about the reasons why. .
A state audit of Parlier Unified in May found that district officials had poor financial bookkeeping and recordkeeping practices, and may have engaged in fraud and misappropriation of funds.
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The audit alleged that the district has “a massive lack of internal control,” pointing to pricy meals purchased with district funds, and school board members being paid for meetings they did not attend.
Subsequently, the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office issued a search warrant for financial and business records at Parlier Unified headquarters in November, citing a potential criminal investigation.
The district referred questions to school board president Juan David Garza, but he did not return phone calls.