Debra Archuleta tells the school board in the fall of 2011 that teacher Gabrielle Leko made ethnic slurs in the classroom..

Debra Archuleta tells the school board in the fall of 2011 that teacher Gabrielle Leko made ethnic slurs in the classroom.. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)

La Cañada Unified is initiating dismissal proceedings against high school math teacher Gabrielle Leko after the parties were unable to reach a settlement agreement, district officials announced in a statement Tuesday.

“While it is still hoped that the parties will reach agreement on a resolution of the subject matter, the district has initiated dismissal proceedings per the education and government codes,” the statement said.

After four closed session meetings, La Cañada school board members on Feb. 7 voted unanimously to start the process to fire Leko if a severance agreement could not be reached by Monday.

Leko has been at the center of a local firestorm that erupted in October after allegations that the teacher had on multiple occasions used derogatory language – including the term “Jew boy” – in her classroom became public.

During a string of public meetings, some current and former students, and their parents, called on the district to fire the math teacher immediately. But Leko’s supporters have been equally vocal – at a meeting on Dec. 21 several dozen students described her as a passionate and dedicated teacher who manages an efficient and effective classroom.

School board President Scott Tracy declined to comment on the failure to reach a settlement and the forthcoming dismissal proceedings.   

-- Megan O'Neil

Twitter: @megankoneil