Dallas district to pay legal fees

DALLAS — The Dallas School Board approved paying $204,126.54 in legal fees to an attorney who represented a student and parent in a special education due process complaint.

The student, Elise Marsh and her mother, Audra Marsh, prevailed in the case, meaning that the district is obligated to pay for her attorney fees. An administrative law judge ruled in the family’s favor in April.

Marsh’s attorney, Diane Wiscarson, of Wiscarson Law, sent the district more than 100 pages of billing entries for her work on the case on April 18.

The district applied for assistance with the bill through the Oregon School Boards Association’s legal assistance fund in May but did not receive money.

Dallas Superintendent Michelle Johnstone said combined with the district’s attorney’s fees, the case has cost the district more than $400,000.

The payment to Wiscarson was taken out of the district’s ending fund balance — the amount that will carry over to next year. It now sits at $808,904.

Wiscarson requested payment within 30 days, but Johnstone said the district’s delay in paying the bill wasn’t a problem.

“They are going to be OK if they get it tomorrow,” Johnstone said at the June 11 board meeting.

The motion was approved unanimously.

In other business:

The board approved a revision to the district’s mission statement. It now reads: “Our mission is to provide the highest quality education, ensuring every student develops the academic, functional, professional-technical, and social-emotional skills necessary to succeed in life. Our promise: Every student in Dallas Public School District is known by name, strength and need, and graduates ready for career, college and community.”

Commenting has been disabled for this item.