DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Monday, FOX31 learned lawyers for former Douglas County School District superintendent Corey Wise agreed on a settlement of more than $830,000 with the district’s insurance company, Colorado School Districts Self-Insurance Pool.
Wise told FOX31 he feels vindicated, but that’s not all he’s feeling.
“My whole career was in Douglas County schools, so it still hurts,” he said.
This is in response to Wise’s controversial firing in February 2022 in a 4-3 vote led by the board’s elected conservative majority. The firing led to protests, district-wide walk-outs, and even a staged sickout which included hundreds of teachers.
“The purpose of this charge was to show those actions were discriminatory and that’s not OK,” Wise explained.
Discriminatory actions laid out in a multi-page civil rights lawsuit filed last year, which also alleged his advocacy for masks in the district during the pandemic, played a role in the 4-3 vote.
“We were working to make sure every student had a safe environment to come to school and we went into a lawsuit against the Douglas County Board of Health because their requirements onto us didn’t allow us to protect those who were immunocompromised,” Wise said.
Late Monday, the two conservative directors of the board released their own statements, individually.
The following is the statement from board President Mike Peterson:
As one director, I voted to terminate the former superintendent due to a lack of competency – period. He was paid out in full in accordance with his contract. In response to threatened civil rights litigation, the school district’s insurance provider agreed to settle with him. Per the settlement agreement, the former superintendent has agreed this is not an admission of liability on the part of the school district.
I will not allow this matter to distract me from focusing on our students and securing more competitive pay for our teachers and staff.”
The following is the statement from board Vice President Christy Williams:
Speaking as one director, I voted to terminate the former superintendent over a year ago because I felt he was unable to meet the requirements of an efficient and effective leader.
After the former superintendent threatened litigation against the school district, the district’s insurance carrier agreed to a resolution including no admission of liability.
I’m thankful we can finally move forward and put the focus back on our students and staff.”
“Douglas County is a microcosm of what’s happening in other places in our state and in the country and it’s not OK,” Wise said.