Judge to hear Southwick case Nov. 14

By David Knopf/Richmond News

Clay County Circuit Judge Shane Alexander has set a Nov. 14 court date to hear motions filed by plaintiff Karen Southwick, the former Richmond High School principal who is contesting her controversial 2011 firing.

Attorney Linda Sherman filed two amended motions Sept. 13, seeking a new hearing and a court order that would require R-XVI to pay Southwick damages. The plaintiff wants to be compensated for lost wages and benefits, legal expenses and what the filing describes as “emotional duress” and “personal embarrassment.”

Specified is payment of the former principal’s 2011-12 and 2012-13 salary and benefits, minus what Southwick would have been paid had she accepted the district’s offer of a teaching position for 2011-12.

Alexander last released his ruling on the case in March 2012, remanding it to the school board for a rehearing and barring member Gwen Weate from participating because of a conflict of interest. Weate’s daughter, Assistant Superintendent Julie Stevenson, served as a witness for the district when the school board heard an appeal of its Southwick decision.

Weate voted in the original non-renewal of Southwick’s contract and participated in subsequent board discussions of the case prior to Alexander’s order.

In his decision, Alexander further required that the district present findings of fact to support its decision to terminate the principal’s contract. He also stipulated that it keep a record of any motions made and decided during the rehearing. No record was kept during the original 2011 appeals hearing.


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