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Superintendent's lawsuit could cost taxpayers thousands

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Updated: 4/24/2013 3:24 pm
CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -- The ongoing battle between the Clay County School Board and Superintendent Charlie Van Zant, Jr. could end up in court soon.

Van Zant has hired a new attorney in preparation to sue the school board.

In question is whether or not school board members have the power to edit job descriptions or qualifications when hiring district personnel.

Board members voted 3-2 in March to tighten up the description for hiring the school district's next director of career and technical education.

"I don't think the people in Clay County expect school board members to autonomously in their own accord write job descriptions," said Van Zant. "It's never happened so I don't think they can do it without a superintendent's recommendation. So it's really a simple, simple matter."

A simple matter that will now be decided in a courtroom with taxpayer-funded, private attorneys instead of a conference room settled between board members and the superintendent.

School Board Chairman Carol Studdard told Action News the issue could wind up costing taxpayers in excess of $100,000.

Studdard told Action News this is the most contentious relationship the board has endured with in superintendent over the past two decades.

"All the case law on this indicates that if there's a legitimate discussion or discrepancy with the board that we are both entitled to competent legal counsel.

According to Van Zant, the school board rejected the opinion of a labor attorney, which is why he is moving forward with a judicial review of an appeal made by the school board.

President of Clay County Education Association, Steve Richards, said this is an "unfortunate ongoing saga with Mr. Van Zant."

"We should be focusing our attention on students and making sure our classrooms are safe and students are safe and getting the best education they can get. Not in wasting money on attorney's fees," said Richards.

Action News is told the school board's attorney can not take part in any litigation because he will most likely be called as a witness.
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Truthseeker - 4/19/2013 4:24 AM
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It sounds like there are few more names to add to the list of people who hate Mr. Van Zant.
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