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Lawyers for Howard County school board argue for dismissal of Foose lawsuit

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Posted at 4:50 PM, Jan 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-27 16:50:48-05

Lawyers for the Howard County Board of Education are asking the state board to issue a declaratory ruling in a lawsuit filed by schools Superintendent Renee Foose.

Lawyers want the state Board of Education to rule that the local board has the authority to retain a lawyer of its choosing, and to hire and fire board staff.

RELATED: Howard County Public Schools Superintendent files lawsuit against Board of Education

The state board, not the court system, has the jurisdiction to consider the matters Foose raises in her lawsuit, lawyer Harriet Cooperman wrote to representatives of Foose.

Cooperman said Foose was required to file a petition with the state Board, not the Circuit Court, on her claims.

Cooperman also said Foose filed the lawsuit before the board took action on her concerns, including access to the board’s attorney and when the superintendent should be excluded from closed meetings.

“The primary priority for all concerned must be the education of the students of Howard County, which requires the orderly and cooperative administration of the public school system. This cannot be achieved through combative, expensive and public litigation in the courts and in the media, which is the path that Dr. Foose, to date, has chosen to pursue,” Cooperman wrote.

Cooperman said if Foose refuses to voluntarily dismiss her suit, “the board and its members, once served, will move to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice and seek sanctions in connection with the improper filing of the laws.”

“Surely, public monies should not be expended on requiring the board and its members to respond to the complaint, which is improperly filed and which improperly targets board members in their individual capacities,” Cooperman wrote. 

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