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HPS discrimination complaint filed with Human Rights Bureau


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An employee has filed an employee discrimination complaint against Havre Public schools, leading trustees to call a closed session to discuss litigation strategy Tuesday.

The circumstances leading to the complaint being filed wi th the Montana Human Rights Bureau have not been disclosed and neither has the complainant's name.

Under Montana code, public entities are allowed to close meetings for litigation strategy only after litigation has been filed.

Jeff Hindoien, the lawyer retained by the district for the case who works at Kaleva Law Offices in Helena, said after the closed session that the complaint constitutes litigation because it is the only way for a complainant to go through the system to a trial.

Mi ke Me l oy, Montana Newspaper Association's legal counsel, concurred this morning that a complaint filed with the bureau does constitute litigation.

A request for a copy of the complaint from the Havre Daily News has been filed with the Human Rights Bureau, but no information has been received as of this morning. After requests are received, the complainant is contacted to ask if he or she is willing to release a copy of the complaint.

Investigations by the bureau can take up to 180 days, at which time a finding of reasonable cause to believe that discrimination occurred or not is released. The complainant can then challenge the bureau's finding before the Human Rights Commission, an appointed board.

From now through when the bureau makes its finding, the district will be cooperating with the bureau and providing it with information to make its finding, Hindoien said.

Also during their meeting, trustees: Approved contract agreements between Havre Public S c h o o l s a n d t h e Hav r e Paraprofessional Education Association, in which paraprofessionals in the district will receive a 2 percent entry-level base salary increase for 2010-11.

Tutors, along will paraprofessionals, will receive the same increase to the nine months of service salary for 2010-11.

"They serve such a vital role in this district ," Interim Superintendent Andy Carlson said, adding that he's pleased with the contracts.

For the 2011-12 school year, the increase will amount to 1 percent, with paraprofessionals receiving that increase for both entry-level base pay and the nine months of service salary and tutors receiving it only for the nine months of service salary.

For part-time employees, the district will pay $253 toward group insurance costs in 2010-11 and $272 the next year. Full-time employees will receive $276 toward group insurance in 2010- 11 and $296 in 2011-12.

Just cause must be given to terminate or discipline an employee after their 90-day probationary period.

A statement of intent also has been added to give employees "an expectation of continued employment" unless terminated for cause.

  • Approved preliminary budget amounts of $8,220,349 for the high school di s t r ict and $4,684,518 for the elementary district. Budgets will receive final approval in August.
  • More than $70,000 worth of paint projects are planned for the summer in district buildings.
  • Other projects include installing an irrigation system at Sunnyside Intermediate School's west playground and mowing 45 acres of grass each week.

  • The Havre High School girls track team received the Keith Turck Memorial Award for having the highest combined GPA of sports teams for the year with an average of more than 3.6.
  • Listened to a presentation by Athletic Director Dennis Murphy about how growing cracks on the tennis courts will be repaired before next season.
  • Even though the courts were resurfaced a few years ago, cracks have developed and are almost too wide for play to continue on them. Money from the city of Havre and an advertising fund will be used for the repairs.

  • A p p rove d e l eme n ta r y school handbooks.
  • The three schools worked together on handbook revisions for the 2010-11 school year to make them more universal for parents.

    The major change to the handbook at Sunnyside was the addition of a clause allowing administration to jump to different steps of the disciplinary action plan dependent upon the severity of a student's offense.

    At L i n c o l n -McKi n l e y Primary School, few major changes were instituted.

    Information and contact information for Highland Park North has been removed from Highland Park Early Primary School handbooks. Another major change is that a medical note will be required for a child not to participate in school day activities.

    "If they're too sick to be outside, they're too sick to be at school," Principal Maureen Odegard said.

  • A fine arts curriculum was unanimously approved by trustees.
  • A new Havre Middle School social studies curriculum also was approved. A district plan for social studies curriculum was approved earlier, but the middle school plan was incorrectly listed.

  • Approved paying $10,117 for Mo n t a n a S c h o o l Bo a r d Association dues for the 2010-11 school year and approved paying $610 for catastrophic insurance and $4,750 for Montana High School Association activity fees for 19 district activities for the 2010-11 school year. Softball pays for their own dues and insurance.
  • Approved extra-curricular activities personnel, along with the following personnel action: — Retirements: Doug Mack and Janie Hedstrom, high school teachers.
  • — Appointment s : Ki ra Hansard, summer school teacher; Carly Brunk, summer school parpaprofessional; and Dylann Williams, summer custodial/ maintenance.

    — Resignations: Tim Hagen, middle school track, and Chris Inman, high school cross country.


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