July 3, 2013 9:10:00 PM
Sarah Fowler - [email protected]
Former Columbus Municipal School Superintendent Dr. Martha Liddell will soon learn if she will be reinstated to her former position.
Liddell filed an injunction in the Lowndes County Chancery Court after she was fired by the CMSD school board in June. Dr. Liddell is asking the court to "intervene to restore the rights of the plaintiff, namely to reinstate her as superintendent."
A hearing date has been set for July 16 in Lowndes County Circuit Court with Judge Kenneth Burns presiding. Judge Jim Davidson, who was originally assigned to hear the case, recused himself because his wife works in the school district.
In a letter from the school board to Liddell, board members claim Liddell violated state law and the Mississippi Educators Code of Ethics by using district funds for a private party and making misleading public statements about the use of a caterer and her attempt to reimburse the district for those costs.
On May 30, The Dispatch reported Liddell used CMSD funds to pay for a private party for her family, friends and business acquaintances held at the Trotter Convention Center on Dec. 23, 2012.
The party cost the district $447.51. Liddell reimbursed the district using personal checks in the amount of $150 (dated Jan. 30, 2013) and $188.23 (dated May 30, 2013).
On June 17, ,after a four-and-a-half hour executive session, Liddell was fired in a 3-2 vote.
Under "injunctive relief" Liddell states in the lawsuit, "the injury to the plaintiff significantly outweighs the harm the injunction could cause the defendant and entry of an injunction is consistent with the public interest."
The defendant in the case is the school district.
Liddell was appointed interim Superintendent in May 2011 when her predecessor, Dr. Del Phillips, resigned. She was named Superintendent in June 2012.
Edna McGill is serving temporarily as interim superintendent for the district.
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.