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Joplin School District Settles Lawsuit for $2.5 Million - KOAM TV 7

Joplin School District Settles Lawsuit for $2.5 Million

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

The Joplin School District settles a lawsuit out of court. In 2015, the district claimed an electrical contractor that was helping to rebuild the high school after the 2011 tornado did inadequate work and charged an additional $7 million for work that was not approved.  But now it’s the school district that's paying.
Joplin High School has been open to students for some time now but the district just wrapped up some unfinished business with a contractor involved in the rebuild. The school district has already paid the P1 Group a $2.5 million settlement.
"Everything is done and we're ready to move forward hopefully," says Jeff Koch, President of the Joplin School Board.
The court accepted the settlement agreement Friday and the money was taken out of the general reserves fund.

The school district filed a lawsuit in March 2015, asking for $75,000. The company's counter suit claimed $7 million in damages.
The Joplin School Board unanimously agreed to settle in a closed session in September, a better option for the district.
“Fair yes, I would prefer it to be 0 but there was extenuating circumstances on both sides, so both parties felt that it was a fair agreement or else we wouldn't have signed on to it,” says Koch.
A parent who says he was "infuriated" by the lawsuit and the administration at the time of the rebuild is glad to see this chapter coming to an end.
“There are only 2 board members that sit on the board now that were actually there at the beginning so it’s a reflection of exactly how rushed it was,” Joshua Bard says of the rebuild.
Bard thinks settling was the right thing to do to move forward.
“It means it’s almost over, the previous administration is almost complete,” he adds.
Part of the settlement included a confidentiality clause; the district couldn't announce the settlement until the courts approved it.

Koch says the district is now one step closer to putting the tornado behind them
“There are a few more things to come and hopefully that will be finished up in the next year and when  the new superintendent comes in he'll be able to start with a fresh slate,” says Koch.
Koch says although the settlement did take a "big chunk" out of the general reserves fund, the district is still above 10 percent in reserves.



 

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