Hundreds of teachers to sue Monroe School System - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Hundreds of teachers to sue Monroe School System

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Hundreds of past and present teachers will join a class action law suit by two local law firms to sue the Monroe city school board over the 13th check, but the district maintains they've done nothing wrong. 

Monroe attorneys Eddie Clark and Ross Downs are preparing to file a class action lawsuit, alleging for decades, administrators from the Monroe City School System gave teachers less money in their 13th checks than they were owed. "Its not something that happened by happenstance, the school district was well aware, going all the way back to the 90's that this was happening and failed to remedy the situation," said attorney Eddie Clark.

The 13th check is an extra check given to school employees, typically at the end of the school year, from the city's sales tax money. The impending law suits stems from a special audit report released in November. It found the distribution of the extra money may have been given to more people than originally approved by voters.

Monroe voters chose in 1968 for much of the money for the 13th check to only go to certified teachers. But according to Clark, that hasn't been happening. "There is evidence to suggest that classified workers as well as those in the central office were allowed to whether intentionally or unintentionally be allowed to be put in the pool of these folk which reduces the amount available to the teachers."

In a statement, interim superintendent Derenda Flowers says Monroe City Schools follows industry and state standards in all matters involving employee compensation. "The district has operated in good faith and employees have been paid in all funds collected. The district is convinced that threatened legal claims that employees have been improperly paid are unsupported by the law and annual independent audits," said Flowers. 

Clark says the litigation isn't meant to attack the administrators, but to voice the concerns of the teachers. "Teachers have voiced to us that they suspected this is what was going on but no-one was there to hear their cry," said Clark. "We're here to tell them my co-council Ross Downs and I are here to hear their cry and hope the judicial system hears their cry and does what's right," he added.

Clark says the lawsuit will be filed within the next two weeks.  

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