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Lyles’ case closed

Dr. Marcia Lyles, Jersey City school district's former superintendent, drops federal case for settlement agreement.

Jersey City’s former Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marcia Lyles has settled her federal lawsuit against the Board of Education for a total of $398,250, according to the agreement.

Claiming her civil rights were violated when the school board voted not to renew her contract in January 2019, Lyles filed a lawsuit against the board, two board trustees as individuals, the Jersey City Education Association, and its president Ronald Greco.

The suit filed on Jan. 30, 2019, charged that the board acted illegally when it voted at its reorganization meeting not to renew her contract, which expired in June 2020.

The suit named former Board of Education President Sudhan Thomas and trustee Marilyn Roman as individuals for their part in allegedly orchestrating her non-renewal.

The suit claimed that the defendants, “motivated by their personal and political agendas,” influenced the board to refuse to give Lyles the tools she needed to run the district “in an attempt to cause her to fail as superintendent.”

It also claimed that she was defamed and that the board and other defendants created a hostile work environment.

She was placed on leave following her suit and replaced by Franklin Walker in the interim. On Dec. 16, 2019, he became the full-time superintendent.

Lyles also filed a petition of appeal before the state Commissioner of Education.

The settlement

“In light of the cost and uncertainties of litigation, the parties mutually seek to resolve the district court action and petition of appeal,” the settlement agreement states.

The agreement states that Lyles has agreed to resign on the retroactive date of July 1, 2019, and to dismiss both the federal case and the appeal before the Commissioner of Education.

In exchange, the Board of Education agreed to pay Lyles $173,250 “as a consideration for her resignation from employment.”

She also received $15,000 for non-wage damages paid by Berkley Select on behalf of its insured; another $10,000 from the board for unspecified purposes; a $37,500 check for non-wage damages issued through Summit Risk; another $37,500 check issued through Summit Risk; and a $125,000 check issued through Summit Risk to her attorneys Weiner Law Group LLC.

She and the board will work with the state’s division of pension and benefits to ensure her pension enrollment records reflect her retroactive resignation from employment.

The parties also agreed to “not take any action through any medium or in any form, directly or indirectly to disparage or otherwise bring into question or disrepute each other including the parties, and past and present Board employees with regard to their reputation, abilities, or capabilities,” according to the agreement.

The parties also agreed to a confidentiality clause, meaning they can’t discuss the negotiations leading to the settlement agreement. Lyles agreed to keep confidential the terms of the agreement, “the negotiations leading to the consummation of this agreement, or any communications, negotiations, agreements, or the like with the Board.”

According to court documents, the federal case was officially dismissed with prejudice on Jan. 17 by U.S. District Judge Claire Cecchi.

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.

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