ILNews

School board to settle with superintendent

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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Parties have reached a tentative agreement in a case involving the firing of a Perry Township Schools superintendent, meaning a broader legal question arising from the possible appeal of a federal judge's June ruling likely will have to wait for another day.

Specifically, the issue would be the legal scope of a superintendent's employment.

The question arises in the case of embattled superintendent H. Douglas Williams, who was placed on paid indefinite administrative leave in November after a 4-3 vote by the school board. The board stated he was repeatedly insubordinate, and mocked and threatened them in public. Williams sued the district in May, and a federal court ruling came June 5.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Larry McKinney in Indianapolis banned the school board's vice president from voting or participating on any motions related to the superintendent's firing because her past statements showed bias that could threaten his constitutional rights.

The board has since delayed a hearing to address charges against Williams until the appeals process is complete.

On Monday night, the divided board voted 4-3 to use district money to pay for the appeal should a settlement not be reached. But a settlement was reached in principle Wednesday after about nine hours of mediation in federal court, contingent upon the board's approval at its July 9 meeting. Details will be released to the public then, according to Bryan Babb with Bose McKinney & Evans in Indianapolis, whose firm is handling the case and potential appeal.

The only detail released publicly so far is that Williams would resign, Babb said.

If the case still goes up on appeal, Babb said the interesting legal question remains and would likely garner attention outside of Indianapolis.

"It is an interesting issue that a lot of school boards and superintendents would be interested in," he said.
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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