Mark Gotcher, former superintendent of the Russellville School District, has sued the district for breach of contract in his firing in April, River Valley Now reports.
Gotcher, who became superintendent in 2017 and, at the time of his firing, was working under a contract extending through June 2023. He said he’s entitled to pay through that time for firing, which became effective June 30, without good cause. He put damages at $384,720 and also seeks attorney fees.
The School Board, in voting 5-2 to fire Gotcher, cited as reasons his allegedly showing favoritism to a school patron by granting unlimited access to the high school arena and for giving confidential personnel information to a person who’d made a complaint about an employee.
Said the River Valley Now article:
Gotcher’s lawsuit argues that he at no time showed favoritism and that, according to information obtained by Freedom of Information Act request, 308 people had badges to access Cyclone Arena on an unlimited basis. Over 100 of those with badges are not employees of the Russellville School District, including three board members.
Gotcher’s lawsuit also argues he did not reveal confidential personnel performance information.
At the time of his firing, local commentators suggested the national political divide — on things like masks and distance learning to cope with COVID, LGBTQ issues and perhaps even the Pope County casino controversy — bubbled in School Board unhappiness.