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Former superintendent Corey Wise reaches settlement with Douglas County Schools

Former Douglas County Schools Superintendent Corey Wise has reached a settlement with the school district after his claims of unlawful termination.

Wise confirmed that the final settlement has been reached with the Douglas County School District and Douglas County Board of Education Members Becky Myers, Michael Peterson, Christy Williams, and Kaylee Winegar.

Wise claims he was terminated without cause and filed charges of unlawful practices with the Colorado Civil Rights Division and Colorado Department of Labor “for advocating for students with disabilities and minority youth, in violation of Mr. Wise’s First Amendment and due-process rights and multiple state and federal civil rights laws.”

“I think it sends a message and makes a statement that politics shouldn’t be in education. We need to work for every single student,” Wise said in an interview with CBS News Colorado. “You can’t discriminate, and when you do discriminate there are consequences that come with that.”

The manner of his termination was also ruled by a court to have been a violation of Colorado’s Sunshine Laws.

The school district paid Wise $270,733.61 owed to him for the remainder of his contract as well as paying him $562,000.00 to resolve all of his claims stemming from his unlawful termination. These funds came from the Douglas County School Board’s insurance policies, not diverted from the schools or students.

“I hope that we learn is how a county can become more healthy, how we can start modeling better actions moving forward, how we can learn from the past,” Wise said.

The Douglas County School District initially provided no comment about the settlement, but then two board members did issue statements through a school district spokesperson.

“As one Director, I voted to terminate the former superintendent due to a lack of competency — period. He was paid out in full in accordance with his contract,” Peterson said. “In response to threatened civil rights litigation, the school district’s insurance provider agreed to settle with him. Per the settlement agreement, the former superintendent has agreed this is not an admission of liability on the part of the school district. I will not allow this matter to distract me from focusing on our students and securing more competitive pay for our teachers and staff.”

“Speaking as one Director, I voted to terminate the former superintendent over a year ago because I felt he was unable to meet the requirements of an efficient and effective leader,” Williams said. “After the former superintendent threatened litigation against the school district, the district’s insurance carrier agreed to a resolution including no admission of liability. I’m thankful we can finally move forward and put the focus back on our students and staff.”

Wise also released a statement through his attorneys which read in part, “Wise also thanks the many dedicated school administrators, teachers, and staff he has come to know who continue to put students and their education first. He knows teachers make all the difference. He urges the Douglas County School District to continue to emphasize educational equity and success for all students. More than anything, he wants to thank all those in the school system and community who supported him and continue to focus on what is just and right.”

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