The sixth day of the Heidi Kaeslin hearing began this morning at the Brookside Farmhouse. Kaeslin wants her job back; Lincoln Unified fired her earlier this year. You can read more on the case here and here.
Six days in, the prosecution (Lincoln Unified) is still presenting its case. Attorney Marleen Sacks said she expects to wrap up her case tomorrow afternoon. The defense case will follow. It’s hard to say how many more days the whole thing will last, though it’s expected to extend beyond this week.
This morning I listened to Kaeslin’s attorney, Tom Driscoll, as he cross-examined Michele Tatum, Lincoln Unified’s associate superintendent of human resources.
One line of inquiry was the district’s allegation that Kaeslin used a Lincoln Unified cell phone during class time to make calls to Rich Fields, the man her own attorney retired to as Kaeslin’s “paramour.” The district’s statement of charges lists 36 calls by Kaeslin to Fields on the Lincoln Unified cell phone from Sept. 6-Oct. 3.
Kaeslin’s attorney, Tom Driscoll, pointed out that 14 of those 36 calls lasted one minute, and he raised the possibility that some of those one-minute calls could have lasted only seconds.
My own analysis of Lincoln Unified’s allegation found that of the 36 calls, 14 lasted 1 minute, five lasted 2 minutes, three lasted 3 minutes, two lasted 4 minutes, one lasted 8 minutes, two lasted 9 minutes, four lasted 10 minutes, one lasted 12 minutes, one lasted 13 minutes, one lasted 19 minutes, one lasted 20 minutes and one lasted 27 minutes. For those keeping score, that’s 36 calls lasting 198 minutes (3 hours, 18 minutes).
Lincoln Unified specifically alleges in its charges that 18 of the calls to Fields were made during class time. Of those 18 calls, six lasted 1 minute, one lasted 3 minutes, one lasted 4 minutes, two lasted 9 minutes, four lasted 10 minutes, one lasted 12 minutes, one lasted 13 minutes, one lasted 20 minutes and one lasted 27 minutes. That’s 18 calls lasting 147 minutes (2 hours, 27 minutes).
If Lincoln’s allegations are accurate, Kaeslin’s special-education students lost between two and three periods of instructional time while their teacher was on the phone with Fields.
I asked Driscoll if he thinks the hearing will end this week. “No,” he said, “I do not believe so.” Sacks said she has other commitments next week, so the hearing will continue later in November, and it will be up to six weeks after it ends before the panel makes its ruling in the case. And then, the losing side is expected to file an appeal in San Joaquin County Superior Court.