- Associated Press - Monday, July 7, 2014

GREENWOOD, Miss. (AP) - Former Greenwood High School Principal Percy Powell is going to court to try to get his job back.

Powell’s attorney, Preston “Bo” Rideout, has filed a notice of appeal in Leflore County Chancery Court, The Greenwood Commonwealth reported (https://bit.ly/1n87wFu ).

Powell will ask the court to put him back on the job he has held since 2006, which would require the court overturn the Greenwood School Board’s 4-1 decision to dismiss him.

The board voted June 13, following a recommendation by Superintendent Montrell Greene. The district cited the school’s academic struggles and discipline issues in the decision not to renew Powell’s contract.

The superintendent told Powell in December that he wouldn’t be brought back during the 2014-15 academic year.

Powell requested a public hearing about his contract. The proceedings spanned eight days of testimony spread over nearly four weeks. School board members were not present during the hearings. Instead, a hearing officer - Greenwood attorney Luke Schissel - compiled a report, which he gave to the board along with more than 1,600 pages of transcribed testimony and nearly 600 pages of documents and evidence.

The board reached its decision after 15 minutes of closed-door deliberations.

During the nonrenewal hearing, Powell argued that the school board conspired to get rid of him and Greenwood High Co-Principal Lorita Harris because their salaries were too high. Harris, though, has been rehired as principal. Harris and Powell were the highest-paid principals in the district during the previous school year, each with a salary of about $98,000.

In appealing the board’s decision, Powell must prove that his termination wasn’t based on “valid educational reasons or noncompliance with school district personnel policies.”

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