A settlement has been reached in the lawsuit filed against the Greater Albany Public Schools district by former superintendent Jim Golden.
According to GAPS, the district resolved the pending litigation on Aug. 14, resulting in the dismissal of the complaint in Benton County Circuit Court on Aug. 27.
Golden will receive a payroll check of $50,000, which will amount to $20,789.65 after withholding. He’ll also receive a second payment of $75,000. According to GAPS, its insurance deductible is $50,000, so the $50,000 payroll payment will come out of school district funds. The additional money will be covered by the district's insurer, PACE.
Documents related to the settlement note that the agreement is not considered as an admission of liability or wrongdoing by either party.
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“GAPS is pleased to have this matter resolved prior to the 2019-20 school year and is looking forward to a great year focused on its core purpose,” said Superintendent Melissa Goff. “To educate and inspire all students to reach their full potential, equipped to be positive, contributing members of society.”
Golden initially filed a complaint in November 2018 after being terminated by the GAPS board during a special meeting held in July of last year.
In July of this year, Golden amended his complaint, contending that the school district had violated his contract by not providing him immediate notice of emailed complaints against him. He also argued that he was entitled to annual performance reviews, which he did not receive.
He referred to emails between board members and school district staff surrounding his performance and a medical leave he had requested and was eventually granted.
On April 20, Russ Allen, director of business and operations for the school district, sent an email to GAPS board chair Jennifer Ward and board member Frank Bricker that included case law surrounding the termination of an employee under the Family Medical Leave Act. “I’m not an attorney. Just an FYI,” Allen wrote, according to the complaint, which argued that the email attempted to build a case for firing Golden.
In the amended complaint, Golden requested a jury trial and just over $851,000 from the district.