Federal Jury Awards $75,000 to Charter School Starter Who Claimed Reprisals By District
A federal jury in Florida, in a July 24, 2012 verdict, awarded a longtime public school educator and charter school starter $75,000 for her claim that she faced reprisals from the school district after she publicly challenged district actions impacting operation of the charter school and her employment.
A June 2012 order from U.S. Magistrate Judge James M. Hopkins denying summary judgment in the case and clearing the way for a trial provides an overview of key developments in the case and the legal issues involved.
The case involved Deborah Nash-Utterback, who took a leave from her Palm Beach County school district job to serve as a founding board member of the district-sponsored Boca Raton Charter School. As the project developed, Nash-Utterback opposed the district’s demolition of surplus school facilities that she argued could have housed the charter school and challenged its withholding of funds and a change to its charter school leave policy, according to the order.
She filed her lawsuit against the School Board of Palm Beach County, claiming actions by the district harmed her career and violated her free speech rights.