Howard County Public Schools superintendent files lawsuit against Board of Education

Posted at 4:35 PM, Jan 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-12 19:22:23-05

Howard County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Renee Foose is pursuing legal action against the Board of Education for their “unlawful conduct” in preventing the superintendent from fulfilling her job responsibilities, according to a lawsuit.

In a lawsuit filed in Howard County Circuit Court on Wednesday, Dr. Foose filed a Complaint for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief asking that the Court keep the Board of Education from illegally interfering with her duties as superintendent.

The lawsuit alleges that almost immediately after taking office on December 5, 2016, the new Board took action to prevent Dr. Foose from doing her job of administering and managing HCPSS.

The examples provided include: Unlawfully directing the superintendent to not engage or communicate with legal counsel; directing the counsel to illegally begin inspecting HCPSS records, which include student and employee records; “usurping” the superintendent’s authority to hire and fire non-certificated employees; preventing the superintendent from attending board meetings she is legally required to attend; and unlawfully substituting the superintendent’s designee on the Howard County School Budget Review Committee.

The lawsuit alleges the Board’s “illegal actions are creating chaos and uncertainty in HCPSS and are jeopardizing the orderly administration of public education in Howard County.”

Dr. Foose has come under scrutiny from parents in the past for her handling of mold concerns at several Howard County public schools. Last year, a petition to deny Foose's contract renewal received more than 1,500 signatures.

In 2016, Dr. Foose was appointed by the previous board to serve another four-year term that ends in June of 2020. Three of the seven members of the Board of Education were elected by voters in November.

Dr. Foose is asking the court void the contract of a lawyer hired by the Board of Education, as well as void three resolutions passed by the board on December 5. She also requested the court acknowledge Dr. Foose’s right to be notified of all meetings of the board and board committees.

ABC2 reached out to Howard County Board of Education Chairwoman Cindy Vaillancourt for comment. This story will be updated.