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Two Lawsuits filed against School Board

The first lawsuit was filed by former Whitley City Elementary School Assistant Principal Cynthia Moore, and names the Board of Education, Acting Superintendent Mike Cash and the members of the school’s Site Based Decision Making Council – including Principal Foster Jones.

In the suit Moore alleges that over the past three years, while acting as Assistant Principal at the school, she had reported Principal Jones was regularly absent from the school, was misrepresenting his time record, and had been using District resources to purchase personal items.

Those reports, the suit contends, were presented to Arthur Wright, Superintendent of the McCreary County School District at the time.

In March of this year Moore claims Jones had requested a non-renewal letter be sent to her “on the basis that Jones could not trust Moore due to her reporting his absences…”

Wright reportedly informed Moore of the request, and stated he declined it due to not having sufficient grounds to do so. The suit also contends Jones relayed his distrust of Moore to SBDM member Randall Foster.

After Wright’s resignation Jones allegedly approached then Acting Superintendent Aaron Anderson requesting a non-renewal letter be sent. Again, Anderson refused the request.

The court document continues stating Jones then called a special session of the school’s SBDM to modify their staffing allocation, eliminating Moore’s position.

As a result, Moore was informed she was being “demoted” to a teaching position, loosing 25 extended days and a reduction of salary of approximately $8,470.

Moore challenged the legality of that meeting with the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office.

Attorney General concluded that the meeting violated the Open Meetings Act by not providing sufficient 24-hour notice and by not responding to Moore’s complaint within three days of her filing.

Moore claims the SBDM acted with oppression and malice toward her, suffering lost wages, benefits, humiliation and mental and emotional distress as a result of the actions.

She is seeking the Court to overturn the SBDM’s decision and damages against the defendants.

The second suit, filed the same day, was brought against the Board of Education and Cash by Tim Moore, Melissa “Mitzi” Stephens and Jenny Lynn Wilson Davis.

The suit alleges a personal vendetta against the three plaintiffs by members of the Board.

The Board of Education and Acting Superintendent Mike Cash are named as defendants in the filing.

Moore, a 30-year District employee, had last served as an Instructional Supervisor for the District, a post he held since 2008. Wilson-Davis had been with the District for 16-years, serving the past year as Director of Special Education. Stephens, a 19-year employee, had been named Director of Pupil Personnel this past year.

The suit contends the Board of Education held “animosity” toward former Superintendent Arthur D. Wright due to their opposing views regarding the budget.

The three plaintiffs were given notice of reduction in salary after Wright’s resignation, with Moore’s position being eliminated at the same time. All three contested the move to the Board. Both Moore and Wilson-Davis resigned from their positions within the District pending the outcome of their appeals.

“The Defendants’ actions, in reducing the Plaintiffs’ salaries and demoting them from their positions, were taken to punish and penalize Plaintiffs for their political and other associations and political activities at school board elections as citizens of McCreary County, and their association as Central Office Employees of the McCreary County Schools and part of a former administration of said school for which Defendants bear animosity,” the suit contends.

The document includes examples of alleged behavior against the plaintiffs by the members of the Board.

Both Moore and Stephens state they had sent several reports and documents to the Office of Educational Accountability (OEA) since 2012 regarding suspected violations of statute, mismanagement, waste, fraud and/or abuse of authority.

Allegations against two specific Board members are included in the suit, including a request to alter a breakfast count at one school to show favorable numbers for the District.

It was alleged that the demotions were in retaliation for the reports to the OEA, and their support of Wright.

The three plaintiffs are seeking judgment against the defendants for reinstatement to positions commensurate with their positions from which they were demoted, fees and any relief they are entitled to.

In both lawsuits the plaintiffs are being represented by the Walther, Gay and Mack law firm of Lexington.

It should be noted that Acting Superintendent Mike Cash had not been named to the position at the time of the alleged incidents in both lawsuits, but was named in both cases as the administrator of the McCreary County School District.

Attorney Timothy Crawford, representing the defendants in both cases, stated there is no official response to the suits as of yet, and he was still reviewing the documents and engaging in discussion with the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

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