TECUMSEH — Tecumseh Public Schools will receive legal aid in a Michigan Supreme Court case involving a former school principal’s certification during the 2018-19 school year.
During the Tecumseh Board of Education meeting Monday, board members accepted up to $25,000 in aid from the Michigan Association of School Boards.
Carl Lewandowski, who is now a principal in the Adrian school district, was told that he was grandfathered in for certification and did not renew his certification until the spring of 2019. Over the years of Lewandowski’s career, the Michigan Department of Education changed the rules about the certification of administrators like Lewandowski who were employed prior to Jan. 4, 2010.
At the time, Tecumseh Public Schools appealed the decision, which was the deduction of $65,581.50 in state aid. However, the state superintendent denied the appeal. The deduction was nearly the equivalent of Lewandowski’s pay.
Last month, the appeals court ruled the Michigan Department of Education improperly withheld the funding after it was determined the MDE failed to recognize the school district and Lewandowski were not violating state law regarding administrator certification.
“The original fine was appealed to the State Superintendent for Instruction, who upheld the fine. We took it to court, and the decision was overturned in our favor, but MDE has asked the Michigan Supreme Court to hear the case, and it has agreed to do so,” said Superintendent Rick Hilderley.
The MDE is appealing to the appellate court’s decision to the Michigan Supreme Court, and the support from the MASB will go toward the district’s financial legal battle.
The school board did this when the case was at the Court of Appeals and received $15,000 toward $30,000 for attorney fees.
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