Second Knox County teacher sues BOE over bonus money decisions

Second Knox County teacher sues BOE over bonus money decisions

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By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A second Knox County teacher filed a lawsuit against the Knox County Board of Education, this time also listing Gov. Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman.

This latest lawsuit comes from Mark Taylor, a Farragut Middle School teacher who has taught in Knox County since 2008, according to the lawsuit.

The first lawsuit was filed earlier this month by the Tennessee Education Association on behalf of Lisa Trout, a teacher at Richard Yoakley Alternative School.

Taylor's lawsuit, much like Trout's, has to do with bonus money.

Taylor said he was unfairly denied a bonus for the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years because of what he considers to be a flawed evaluation system.

Taylor's lawsuit claims that the estimate from the Tennessee Value Added Assessment System (TVAAS) inaccurately calculated his scores, leaving him with a low evaluation score and unable to receive APEX bonus money.

Taylor has been a familiar face at Knox County BOE meetings over the last several months, speaking out against county and statewide policies.

"Have you forgotten that a child is more than a number?" Taylor said at the Nov. 6 BOE meeting. "We're now in a position where we either put ourselves first above our students or we suffer the consequences. I'll be proud and content with the knowledge that I put my students and their education first always, without fail. Every teacher, every board member, every principal should be able to say the same thing."

The lawsuit alleges that even though Taylor had 115 advanced students in the 2011-2012 school year, his TVAAS scores were only based on the TCAP results from 22 students.

The lawsuit said that left Taylor with a level one evaluation score, ultimately costing him bonus money that ranges between $1,500 and $2,000.

The lawsuit goes on to say that Taylor filed a grievance with the Knox County Board of Education challenging the decision but was turned down again.

The lawsuit includes a copy of a letter from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jim McIntyre saying that Taylor's grievance is not valid.

BOE member Karen Carson also sent Taylor a letter, saying while she understands his concerns, she too agrees the complaint is not valid.

A spokesperson for the State Board of Education declined to comment because of pending litigation.


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