February 21, 2014 11:25:31 AM
Lowndes County Schools Superintendent Lynn Wright is taking his lawsuit against the Lowndes County School District to the Mississippi Supreme Court.
The state's high court announced Thursday it would hear Wright's case. Wright is appealing a decision from the Municipal Appellate Court that ruled he was justly fired from his position as New Hope High School principal in 2010. The appellate court's ruling reversed Lowndes County Chancery Court Judge Dorothy Colom's ruling that Wright was unjustly fired for his involvement with the purchase of a John Deere lawnmower by then-baseball coach Stacy Hester. The Municipal Appellate Court also reversed Colom's decision to award Wright $175,000 in back pay.
In 2009, former Superintendent Mike Halford discovered Hester, a longtime New Hope High School baseball coach, had purchased the mower without board approval in 2007. Wright was serving as principal of the school when the alleged infraction occurred.
Halford claimed the purchase of the mower was illegal and recommended the school board terminate both Hester and Wright. Both were fired on May 17, 2010.
In October 2011, Wright and Hester filed wrongful termination suits against the district and alleged they were fired not for the incident with the mower but because of personality conflicts between Halford and former LCSD board president Dr. Robert Buckley. Buckley's son played baseball under Hester.
In November 2011, Wright was elected as superintendent.
In May 2012, Colom ruled in favor of Wright and awarded him $175,000 in back pay. She ruled Hester was justly fired. The school board voted to appeal Colom's ruling regarding Wright and it was taken to the appellate court.
Hester also appealed Colom's decision to the appellate court. The court upheld Colom's decision in that case.
When reached for comment Friday morning, Wright said he was not aware of the high court's decision to hear the case. He declined to comment further.
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.
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