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Lawsuits loom on MVSD for speech, records access

“complaint and demand for jury”

Some Grangeville Elementary Middle School teachers pose in front of GEMS with their “Support Kids Support Teachers” T-shirts.

Credit: Facebook photo
Some Grangeville Elementary Middle School teachers pose in front of GEMS with their “Support Kids Support Teachers” T-shirts.

— Two lawsuits filed by the Idaho Education Association (IEA) loom over Mountain View School District (MVSD).

“We are aware of the lawsuits but have not been served any official documents,” said superintendent Marc Scheibe Dec. 19, 2018. As of Jan. 2, trustee Rebecca Warden confirmed she had not personally received any official paperwork although she and the additional four MVSD 244 board members are all named as defendants.

The IEA, on behalf of the Central Idaho Education Association (CIEA), and, specifically, teachers in MVSD 244, filed two lawsuits against MVSD and its board in early December 2018.

Case No. 3:18-CV-541 is a “complaint and demand for jury.” As of press time, a trial date had not been set.

The documents state “over the past six months the school district and its board of trustees has attempted to silence the district’s teachers by banning them from wearing certain articles of clothing, has violated a prior contract between the district and the representative of the teachers, and refused to bargain in good faith with their representatives for a new contract governing the current school year.”

These claims are said to relate specifically to teachers wearing matching T-shirts that read, “Support Education, Support Kids at School,” the board ignoring a memorandum of understanding they agreed to during the prior contract negotiation year (2017-18) to “begin working on salary schedule framework, and not completing negotiations for the 2018-19 contracts.”

The lawsuit states that while negotiations were ongoing, the school district informed teachers they could not wear the afore-mentioned T-shirts. In an e-mail from Scheibe dated Sept. 6, 2018, administrators were informed “the board of trustees has given a directive that the CIEA shirts have no place in our educational process; shirts are not to be worn when acting within the capacity as an employee of the school district.”

The second lawsuit is a complaint for violation of Public Records Act.

This suit reads in part,” … the district has failed and refused to produce public records after receiving a proper request and has failed even to comply with the provisions of law governing how a public entity must describe and justify its refusal to produce documents in its possession.”

This claim was filed after CIEA president and CV teacher Char McKinney submitted a request to MVSD in October 2018. She sought the 2017-18 health and benefit package employees received as ell as the current 2018-19 information. In addition, she requested copies of any and all invoices, bills and correspondence between the law firm Anderson, Julian and Hull (Boise) and / or attorney Scott Marotz regarding costs for the year. She also requested copies of teaching contracts signed by all new hires (2018-19).

The lawsuit claims that on Nov. 1, 2018, district business manager Becky Hogg responded via e-mail with some of the requested documents and an e-mail stating: “As I understand it, the invoices from Anderson, Julian and Hull are considered to be privileged information between attorney and client since they itemize the firm’s time for all various legal issues under advisement. As such, we are denying this portion of your request.”

On Dec. 11, 2018, Judge Greg FitzMaurice of Grangeville disqualified himself from presiding over the case. Judge FitzMaurice formerly served as counsel for MVSD, and his wife was employed as a teacher at Grangeville Elementary Middle School.


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