Law & Courts

Wyo. District Sues Teacher Who Quit After Signing On

By Rhea R. Borja — June 05, 2002 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

In an effort to try to hang on to its teachers, the school district in Green River, Wyo., has filed a lawsuit against a teacher who resigned before she ever started her job.

The 2,700-student Sweetwater County School District No. 2 sued Angela Banks, alleging breach of contract, on April 3. The district is seeking $5,571.47 in damages, plus court fees, according to the lawsuit.

Ms. Banks, who had taught for a year at the district’s middle school, had accepted a position as a secondary school home economics teacher and signed a contract on May 31 of last year. But in August, she applied for a position with neighboring Sweetwater County School District No. 1 and resigned from the first district, according to court documents.

The district board of trustees refused her resignation, however, arguing that since she missed a May 15 deadline to notify the district that she wanted to leave, Ms. Banks had to stay, said Dennis Golden, the board’s chairman.

“Getting someone to fill a spot is tough, so we’ve had to stop the floodgates,” he said of the district’s decision to sue. “Even if she’d tendered her resignation in June, we’d have said, ‘OK, good luck.’ But when you wait until August, we think, ‘Do you hate us?’”

The district’s school year began Aug. 29.

Hard to Compete

Like many school systems across the country, Mr. Golden’s district is struggling to hire and keep teachers. Its rural nature and shrinking population have proved to be a disadvantage, school officials say, making it hard to compete with higher-paying cities such as Denver and Salt Lake City

At least nine of the district’s 245 teachers have left since 2000, Mr. Golden said, and several more plan to leave.

Kathryn Valido, who represents Wyoming on the National Education Association’s board of directors, said it was “extremely rare” for a district to take such a drastic measure as suing a teacher for breach of contract. But she’s not surprised.

“There’s a sense of frustration school districts have with this [teacher shortage],” Ms. Valido said. “Perhaps this is severe enough for teachers to give second thoughts on leaving.”

Ms. Banks now teaches 1st grade in the Sweetwater No. 1 district. She denies that she breached her contract and disputes the amount of damages her former employer seeks, according to court documents. That amount covers advertising, personnel, and other costs incurred to fill her position.

The teacher had no ill will toward the Sweetwater No. 2 district, said Chad Banks, her husband. She left to teach in the area in which she’s certified—elementary education—and so she could stay closer to home. With a 31/2-year-old daughter and another child on the way, Ms. Banks didn’t want to commute 30 miles each day to Green River, he said.

“This situation has been horrendous,” Mr. Banks said. “Green River is trying to set an example with this.”

A version of this article appeared in the June 05, 2002 edition of Education Week as Wyo. District Sues Teacher Who Quit After Signing On

Events

Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
What is it About Math? Making Math Figure-Out-Able
Join Pam Harris for an engaging session challenging how we approach math, resulting in real world math that is “figure-out-able” for anyone.
Content provided by hand2mind
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Law & Courts School District Lawsuits Against Social Media Companies Are Piling Up
More than 200 school districts are now suing the major social media companies over the youth mental health crisis.
7 min read
A close up of a statue of the blindfolded lady justice against a light blue background with a ghosted image of a hands holding a cellphone with Facebook "Like" and "Love" icons hovering above it.
iStock/Getty
Law & Courts In 1974, the Supreme Court Recognized English Learners' Rights. The Story Behind That Case
The Lau v. Nichols ruling said students have a right to a "meaningful opportunity" to participate in school, but its legacy is complex.
12 min read
Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court William O. Douglas is shown in an undated photo.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, shown in an undated photo, wrote the opinion in <i>Lau</i> v. <i>Nichols</i>, the 1974 decision holding that the San Francisco school system had denied Chinese-speaking schoolchildren a meaningful opportunity to participate in their education.
AP
Law & Courts Supreme Court Declines to Hear School District's Transgender Restroom Case
The case asked whether federal law protects transgender students on the use of school facilities that correspond to their gender identity.
4 min read
People stand on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 11, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
People stand on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 11, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
Mariam Zuhaib/AP
Law & Courts What a Proposed Ban on AI-Assisted ‘Deep Fakes’ Would Mean for Cyberbullying
Students who create AI-generated, intimate images of their classmates would be breaking federal law, if a new bill is enacted.
2 min read
AI Education concept in blue: A robot hand holding a pencil.
iStock/Getty