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Archive for Tuesday, July 27, 1999

HANSON TAKES $52,000 TO END DISPUTE WITH DISTRICT

July 27, 1999

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A tenured Lawrence teacher Tuesday accepted a $52,000 settlement to drop his challenge of the district's decision not to renew his contract.

The school board voted 6-0 following executive session to pay the lump sum to James Hanson, who taught fifth- and sixth-grade reading and spelling this past year at Sunset Hill elementary. The settlement was equivalent to 18 months of salary and benefits.

"We felt like this was in the best interest of the school as well as Mr. Hanson," said James Hilliard, school board president.

Hanson's method of preparing students for standardized tests was questioned in the spring. He was accused by some parents of teaching students to cheat.

The school board opted not to renew his contract, but Hanson hired a lawyer and fought dismissal. Hanson said he would have emerged victorious if facts were presented for impartial review.

"I've got an excellent case," he said.

Hanson said the problem went deeper than the testing controversy. He didn't get along with Sunset Hill Principal Ken Rigdon.

"I didn't fit the principal's mold," Hanson said. "Our philosophies clashed."

Hanson had been in the district eight years and taught at New York, Riverside and Sunset Hill.

-- Tim Carpenter's phone message number is 832-7155; his e-mail address is tcarpenter@ljworld.com.

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