Ross, CCSD suit moves forward

Steve Ranson / LVN file photo

Steve Ranson / LVN file photo

The bitter ending to former Churchill County School District Superintendent Carolyn Ross may come to an end in August.

Ross’ lawsuit against CCSD and Board of Trustee member Nona McFarlane is scheduled for an early settlement hearing on Aug. 20. That hearing, though, may or may not produce a settlement.

Should a settlement not be reached, the case will move forward to a settlement conference slated for Dec. 11. A trial has also been scheduled for Jan. 8, 2014.

Ross is requesting damages of at least $10,000 plus punitive costs for a breach of contract, according to the case file. Trustees and Ross negotiated her contract on Oct. 6, 2011, which would run from July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013. Ross resigned from her duties in July 2012, but her lawsuit claims trustees did not understand their function as “policymakers”, not “administrators” and exceeded and abused their powers.

Ross alleges McFarlane made numerous “slanderous statements about her character, leadership, professionalism and work product to staff and residents,” according to court documents.

The trustees and McFarlane have denied wrongdoing and stated Ross’ lawsuit lacks standing. In addition, the trustess said they are not in violation of a breach of contract because Ross resigned.

The board, though, rejected Ross’ letter of resignation at a meeting in July 2012. Trustees acknowledged they did not expect her to return, however, and scheduled a special meeting the same week at the district administration offices to select an interim replacement.

Ross also alleges the trustees had “evil minds,” which the board said Ross cannot establish.

She was the first woman to hold the position of superintendent of schools for Churchill County. She had served as school superintendent since July 1, 2005, and worked for the district two years before that as director of Instructional Services. She originally applied for an opening as superintendent in 2003, but the appointment went to Donn Livoni.

Before coming to Fallon, Ross served as superintendent for the Kerman Unified School District in Fresno County (a district that now accommodates 4,607 students on seven campuses in a community located southwest of Fresno).

After Ross’ resignation, Bus Scharmann was named interim superintendent for the past school year. Scharmann, who was elected to the county commission last year, was replaced by Sandra Sheldon, who started Monday.


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