Grand Ledge (Mich.) district sues to overturn arbitrator's award to former superintendent

Oct. 20, 2022
An arbitrator ordered the school system to pay nearly $880,000 to Brian Metcalf, whom the board fired in 2020.

The Grand Ledge (Mich.) school district has asked a judge to overturn an arbitrator’s ruling that ordered the school system to pay nearly $880,000 to its former superintendent.

The Lansing State Journal reports that the Grand Ledge district contends that the arbitrator exceeded his authority when he awarded the money to Brian Metcalf, whom the school board fired in 2020.

The arbitrator, Robert Young Jr., a former Michigan Supreme Court Justice, found the process used by the district's school board to fire Metcalf for comments he made about George Floyd in 2020 "was fatally tainted and pretextual" and the decision to fire him "was made in bad faith."

Young awarded Metcalf $802,872 for the remainder of his superintendent’s contract and $75,000 in compensatory damages. He also ordered the district to Metcalf’s attorney’s fees.

After Young’s decision, Metcalf filed suit asking for a modification of the award. It cites an "expert report" that lists the compensation the school district owes him at just more than $1.1 million and compensatory damages at nearly $7.2 million.

The school district's lawsuit seeks to vacate Young's arbitration award.

The district asserts that Young should have dismissed Metcalf's breach of contract claim because, according to his employment contract, the school board had the "sole discretion" to determine if there was just cause to fire him.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy has been writing about education for American School & University since 1999. He also has reported on schools and other topics for The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Times and City News Bureau of Chicago. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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