BOE settles lawsuit with employee
by Chris Norwood
Mar 07, 2011 | 4415 views |  1 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TALLADEGA — The Board of Education voted 4-1 Monday night to approve a settlement agreement with former maintenance assistant Wanda Cochran. Board member Joe Hare cast the dissenting vote.

Board Superintendent Doug Campbell said he wanted to “review some of the language in the agreement” before releasing the whole thing Tuesday, but said he would issue a prepared statement Monday night.

In the statement, Campbell said, “The Talladega City Board of Education and Wanda Cochran have decided to resolve the federal lawsuit brought by…Cochran in 2008. The Board and Ms. Cochran believe this decision is in the best interests of the school district and the community.”

Specifically, the arrangement provides payment of $13,600 for attorney Gail Gear and a salary of $46,817.57 through February of this year. In exchange, Cochran agreed to dismiss the lawsuit she had filed against the board in federal court and sign a standard release, “including a denial of liability against the board.”

Hare said he had stopped reading the proposed agreement after the first condition, namely that the board pay Cochran’s and the Alabama Education Association’s legal fees.

During the same meeting, the board also voted unanimously to raise breakfast and lunch prices across the board. According to Child Nutrition Program Director Joni Baker, the county schools and Sylacauga City Schools have already upped their prices, and that Talladega was still playing catch-up.

The price of student lunches will go from $1.75 to $2, and the cost of an adult lunch will go from $2.25 to $2.50, and visitor lunches will go from $3 to $3.25.

The cost of breakfast is $1 for students, $1.25 for adults and $2 for visitors.

Board member Bonnie Miller said, “I am very sorry that we have to do this at this time.”

Also Monday night, the board:

• Heard a presentation from McKee Associates, an architectural firm specializing in school projects.

• Heard a presentation on the forms that will be used in Campbell’s upcoming evaluation. By law, public school superintendents must be evaluated every three years. The form has not changed since 2003.

• Unanimously approved the financial report and bank reconciliation.

• Approved a field trip for students at R.L. Young Elementary School to visit the Georgia Aquarium and Coca-Cola.

• Approved a leave of absence under the Family Medical Leave Act for LeeAnn Bostick, sixth grade teacher at C.L. Salter Elementary.

• Approved an FMLA leave of absence for Lillian D. Higgins, bus driver.

• Approved a further leave of absence for R.L. Young custodian Willie Jemison, whose FMLA time has been exhausted by a vote of 4-1. Miller cast the dissenting vote.

• Approved the school calendar for the 2011-2012 school year as submitted.

• Heard Campbell introduce new chief financial officer Tina Paris.

• Agreed to pass a resolution consoling the family of a student at C.L. Salter Elementary School who died recently.

• Heard Board chairman James Braswell congratulate the system’s employees for getting a laptop program up and running.

• Heard Board member Mary McGhee ask why she had not been informed about Talladega High School Principal Darren Anglin being sent overseas by the military and ask about a teacher who allegedly got into a fight with a parent who wanted to pick up their child early during inclement weather. Campbell said he could not discuss the latter incident publicly at this point, but did promise to try and keep McGhee and Board Member Shirley Simmons-Sims better informed in the future.