Board Settles Beef with Former Superintendent

FAIRFIELD – After more than a year of legal wrangling, the Fairfield County School District announced Tuesday night that they had settled their affairs with former superintendent Dr. Patrice Gilliam Robinson.

Robinson was hired by the District in January 2010, signing a $140,000 a year, four and a half year contract. In October of 2011, the Board placed Robinson on administrative leave following revelations that she and her staff had removed Advanced Placement courses from the District’s curriculum without approval of the Board. That move, which was a violation of both District policy and state law, landed the District in no minor hot water, forcing the District to plead their case before the State Board of Education in order to maintain their state accreditation. The Board later terminated Robinson on Nov. 29, 2011.

Robinson responded by filing a lawsuit against the District in January of 2012, claiming, among other things, that she was terminated without cause. Sources indicate that Robinson had been seeking as much as $860,000 in relief from the suit. Tuesday night, the Board announced that Robinson would be walking away with a total of $150,000. The District’s insurance carrier will be picking up $56,250 of the tab, while the District itself will pay $93,750. The settlement, the District said, was the recommendation of their insurance carrier.

“The Board unanimously regrets this expenditure,” Chairwoman Beth Reid said in an official statement, “but the Board majority believes it is cost-effective, in that a lengthy trial would be expensive and disruptive to the School District and the Fairfield community, with no real winners.”

Any trial, Reid said, would likely be followed by appeals that could go on for years.

The Board voted 5-2 to accept the settlement, with Annie McDaniel (District 4) and Andrea Harrison (District 1) voting against.

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