Charter school founder Kim Coleman has renewed her legal quarrel with Utah education officials in a multimillion-dollar suit alleging that the State Charter School Board violated state and federal law in ousting her last year as director of West Valley City’s Monticello Academy.
The board acted “maliciously” when it barred Coleman from serving Monticello in any capacity, according to Coleman’s suit, filed Tuesday in Salt Lake City’s 3rd District Court. In formal findings issued in early 2009, the board found that Coleman failed to adequately provide special-education services and withheld pertinent information during a compliance review. Coleman, whose husband, Joel Coleman, hopes to be elected to the State Board of Education next week, alleges those findings have no basis in fact or law…
At the time Coleman was ousted, parents of Monticello students had complained that families and teachers were leaving the school and Coleman was too closely tied to the governing board, which included her husband, also a school founder. The state falsely accused him of failing to recuse himself when the Monticello board voted to hire Coleman as director, according to the lawsuit…
He said Monticello is not helping finance his wife’s current lawsuit, although the school did help cover her past legal expenses when she was still a school official.
Coleman’s 71-page suit contends the school thrived under her leadership. It seeks damages totalling more than $5 million under various causes of action, including libel, unlawfully removing her from her post, constitutional violations, and interference with family relations and economic opportunity. The suit seeks an injunction allowing her to resume her spot on the Monticello board and be eligible for employment at the school.
OUSTED CHARTER SCHOOL LEADER SUES EDUCATION OFFICIALS, October 28, 2010, Salt Lake Tribune (UT)