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WCSB moves hearing over teacher suspension to DOAH

Feb 1st, 2014 | 0

By ALICIA LEONARD
The Walton County School Board(WCSB) met at a regularly scheduled session on Jan. 21 at 5 p.m. The board moved through opening and consent agenda items quickly and unanimously. Most of the consent agenda items involved transportation and revolved around school trip requests.
Under action agenda items, the board extended WCSB attorney Ben Holley’s contract for another year for legal services, as well as approving unanimously personnel recommendations, increasing minimum wage to fall in line with the Florida minimum wage increase from $7.79 to $7.87, and approval of a self-assessment report on school safety.
Under administrative procedures, board member Mark Davis asked other members how they felt about proceeding with a hearing themselves in a call for the suspension of Harriet Hurley for 10 days without pay for a charge of misconduct in office brought by Walton County School District Superintendent Carlene Anderson. Davis said that he had known many teachers that would be testifying and were involved with the case for many years, and although he was more than willing to follow the board’s lead, it was understandable if it made some board members uncomfortable. Board member Sharon Roberts replied that although she understood his concern, she felt that it would be more economical for the board to
handle the hearing rather than their other choice, referring the case to the Division of Administrative Hearings(DOAH).
DOAH hears grievances as an independent central panel in the state of
Florida and as an impartial trier of fact for the resolution of disputes between state agencies and citizens. Their judges are not subject to the control of a particular state agency, but serve the purpose of administrative adjudication. The board would receive a recommendation from the DOAH and according to Holley, would have to adhere closely to the findings and resolution they passed back down to the board.
After more discussion, board member Dennis Wallace made a motion to move the hearing to the DOAH. Davis seconded the motion, and the motion passed 4-1 with Roberts being the nay vote. The board then moved 5-0 to hire an attorney to represent Anderson in the case.
Schools were closed Jan. 28 and 29 due to possible hazardous road
conditions from winter weather and the teacher salary negotiations were moved to Feb. 13 at 9 a.m. at the district offices in DeFuniak Springs.
The Walton County School Safety Task Force Committee (SSTFC) will host a
public meeting on Feb. 6, from 8 – 9 a.m. in the school board meeting room located at Tivoli Complex/district office. The next regular board meeting will be held on Feb. 4 at 5 p.m.
To see more on meetings and information about the WCSB, go to
www.walton.k12.fl.us.

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