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Lawsuit against 833 dismissed

A lawsuit filed by School District 833's first diversity coordinator was dismissed Aug. 25 by U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank.

The suit was filed by Lisa McLeod who worked for the district for one year and hired four diversity coordinators.

When her contract was not renewed in June 2004, McLeod filed suit asserting that she was discriminated against because she is black and was treated differently than other supervisors.

The School Board and McLeod did not agree on how the next year's budget was structured. Several board members did not like a provision offering to pay participants for attending advisory commissions when no other district committee members were being paid.

McCleod was hired with state money and a small local levy to foster diversity in the district.

In responding to her suit, district officials argued that failing to renew the contract by the board was not due to discrimination but to differences over her budget and McLeod's failure to develop an effective diversity program.

In his order, Frank sided with the district. He said McLeod was not able to prove she was meeting district expectations when her contract was not renewed, and did not meet the threshold to support a claim of discrimination.

After McLeod's contract was not renewed the district hired a consultant to meet with focus groups throughout the district and come up with a plan that incorporated parent concerns.

The district hired Emmanuel Dolo, the district's current coordinator.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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