San Diego Unified School District trustee pleads guilty to misdemeanor charge

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – San Diego Unified School District trustee Marne Foster pleaded guilty Tuesday to receiving and accepting financial gifts that exceeded the legal limit and then using the money for her son’s theater camp.

Foster admitted that a benefactor gave her son money toward a theater camp in 2014 and paid for his airline tickets.

According to Deputy District Attorney Leon Schorr, Foster, 47, could only accept financial gifts of up to $460 per year.

Foster is accused of using her position at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts to get additional funding, like a $250,000 claim against the district filed by her son’s father that accused the school of ruining their son’s college plans.

Foster is also accused of holding a fundraiser to cover her son’s college expenses.  

Foster was ultimately charged with just one misdemeanor count.

"We took into consideration everything that we had, and took into consideration the standard that we have in order to prove a crime and what would be a proper resolution in getting the district back to functioning on its number one goal, which is educating students versus having to deal with the long, drawn-out criminal proceedings,” Schorr told reporters outside court.

Superior Court Judge Lisa Rodriguez placed Foster on three years probation, ordered her to pay $3,487 in restitution and perform 120 hours of volunteer work. Foster is also barred from running for office for the next four years. Her resignation is effective Feb. 7.

Foster was not at the court hearing, where she was represented by her attorney, Adam Gordon.

Foster issued a brief statement that read: "I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve the students of San Diego and their families.”

She agreed to resign her position at the end of the week.

School district General Counsel Andra Donovan said the remaining trustees will consider in the next few weeks how to fill the vacancy.

The seat is up for election this year. LaShae Collins, an aide to Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, is the only candidate known to have entered the race.

Categories: KUSI