The events in Milpitas, Calif., serve as a reminder to all public school employees that there is no such thing as privacy on district-issued computer or eMail accounts.

In a case that serves as a reminder to all public school employees that there is no such thing as privacy on district-issued computer or eMail accounts, the Milpitas, Calif., school board sternly reprimanded Superintendent Karl Black on May 31 for an “intimate relationship” he had with a district principal and for lying about it, and the principal has been placed on leave.

The actions came after trustees discussed newly discovered eMail messages between Black and Stacey Espino, principal at John Sinnott Elementary.

The board, however, decided not to terminate Black’s contract. In a written statement, the board cited his 14 years with the district and his upcoming retirement June 30. “But for the short amount of time remaining on his contract, this board would move to dismiss Dr. Black for cause,” read the board statement issued after an emergency midday meeting.

Black could not be reached for comment.

Considering the district’s financial straits and the time, effort, and cost of terminating him, the board decided to let Black, 58, retire as planned.

So Black will be able to receive retirement benefits he’s owed for 35 years in public education, including 14 in Milpitas, the last nine as superintendent. He earns $213,000 annually.

Board President Marsha Grilli said that the three months of investigation and uncertainty have been difficult on the 9,800-student district. “We put a lot of trust into our superintendent,” she said. “This is very disappointing when you get to this point.”

The allegation that Black was having an affair with Espino surfaced in March. Espino’s husband confronted Black in his school district office after reading an eMail message between the pair. Black, who is married, denied the affair to a newspaper reporter and district officials.