The Zavala family wasn’t in it for the money. All they wanted was about $25,000 to cover the medical expenses for the three fingers of their son’s hand, which was mangled while trying to complete a project in metal shop.

But the school board denied the claim. So, the family sued and almost 3 years later, they won $3.8 million.

Here is what taxpayers need to know:

1) In their initial consultations with their attorney, did district decision-makers consider that the family may sue if they denied the claim?
2) In their initial consultations with their attorney, were district decision-makers advised of the cost of a potential lawsuit?
3) If yes, was the quoted cost more or less than $25,000?
4) Which board members voted to deny the claim?

This is more fiscal bungling by the school district, which is in negotiations with the teacher union. If they appeal this claim, as I expect they will, they will lose, and so will teachers, who can expect the board to use this as an excuse to keep their compensation down.

Those of you who have been around for awhile may recall the $3 million-plus embezzlement of district CFO Steven Wagner from 1986-1992. The difference between the embezzlement and this lawsuit is that Wagner took the money, but this school board is giving it away.


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