EDUCATION BOOKLET: Former Russellville school principal sues district | Judge sets dates for state mask ban trial

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Ex-superintendent

file a complaint for loss of employment

Mark Gotcher, who was fired earlier this year as the Russellville School District superintendent, filed a lawsuit in Pope County Circuit Court accusing his former employers of breach of contract.

Gotcher was Arkansas Assistant Commissioner of Education when he left that post in 2017 to lead the Russellville system. He was ultimately fired from the district in a 5-2 school board vote in April.

The defendants in the lawsuit are the Russellville School District, the Russellville School Board and four of its members: Jason Golden, Jeff Carter, Morgan Barrett and Jeremy Keaster.

In the lawsuit, Gotcher said he was fired for violating district policies by giving a district client unrestricted access to a school district arena and inappropriately revealing confidential staff performance information. .

Gotcher denied showing favoritism towards an employee and said around 308 people had badges to access Cyclone Arena unlimited – and 100 of them are not district employees, including three members of the board of directors. Gotcher also denied revealing confidential information about staff performance to a client in the district.

Gotcher is asking for the salary he says is owed to him under his contract, as well as compensation for additional damages.

3-day hearing kit

on the state mask law

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox has scheduled a three-day hearing in November into the lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of Law 1002 of 2021.

The hearing on state law that prohibits most state and local government agencies – including school districts – from mandating the wearing of masks as a defense against transmission of covid-19 is set at 22 , November 23 and 24 at 9 a.m.

Fox on August 6 shut down law enforcement until a full hearing can be held and a decision rendered in the lawsuit that was brought to court by parents Veronica McClane and Ashley Simmons, as well as the Little Rock and Marion School Districts and Pulaski County County Judge Barry Hyde and Sheriff Eric Higgins.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said last week that 118 of the state’s school systems – enrolling the majority of the state’s public school students – have mask requirements. In total, 87 of the state’s 262 traditional districts and charter systems have chosen not to require masks, and 57 have taken no action.

Hutchinson is a defendant in the lawsuit but says he agrees with Fox’s August 6 decision and regrets signing the bill last spring.

ACT Aspire tests’

weighed options

The state-mandated ACT Aspire tests given since 2017 to Arkansas students in grades 3-10 in math, literacy and science will not be given in perpetuity.

The Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education recently distributed a survey to educators across the state for feedback on “an ideal assessment.”

“Arkansas is in the final years of its contract with ACT to administer the ACT Aspire assessment, and ACT will no longer offer Aspire as a summative option after 2023,” said a memorandum to educators prepared by Hope Worsham of the division.

“For this reason, the Division of Primary and Secondary Education is considering options for what the state’s assessment system will look like in the coming years and welcomes feedback from stakeholders,” she wrote. .


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