Traverse City newspaper sues school district over transparency

The Associated Press

Traverse City – A newspaper has sued Traverse City Area Public Schools for allegedly disregarding transparency laws related to the unexpected resignation of the former superintendent.

The lawsuit filed Friday by the Traverse City Record-Eagle alleged the district misused closed sessions and deliberately denied or delayed of Freedom of Information Act requests related to the October departure of Superintendent Ann Cardon. The lawsuit, filed in Grand Traverse County, named the district’s board and its president Sue Kelly.

“We’ve been counseled not to release any requested document without court order,” Kelly said.

Other board members either declined comment or didn’t return calls.

The lawsuit followed complaints from parents seeking answers about the departure of Cardon. Some organized recall efforts against board members.

Cardon resigned in October, when trustees voted to approve an $180,000 mutual separate agreement. She had started working for the district in August and her contract ran through June 2022.

The lawsuit sought the release of documents and compliance with transparency laws, along with attorney fees and punitive damages.

The newspaper’s attorney, Robin Luce-Herrmann, declined to discuss the suit.