VALDOSTA — Coach Alan Rodemaker’s ongoing lawsuit made the Valdosta Board of Education agenda again Tuesday night but there's still no decision on a settlement.
The agenda item was listed as an action item called “consideration of settlement of all lawsuits brought by former football coach Alan Rodemaker and Leah Rodemaker (the coach's wife) against the school district, school board members and school district staff and employees.”
Board member Warren Lee brought a motion to the floor but gave a bit of background before presenting the motion.
“I have come to the conclusion that we are at a dead end. Our collective perspectives on the issues at hand has not resulted in a unanimous decision as to the directions in which the board should travel,” Lee said.
He added it is his understanding that the board’s insurance company, AIG, is “determined” to pay the Rodemakers $800,000 because they assume it is in their best interest.
“Rather than the insurance company defending our consistent position that we have not discriminated against Alan Rodemaker in any manner nor have we had any intentions or interaction with his wife, Leah Rodemaker, as an employee of the Valdosta City School school system,” Lee said. “The insurance company may submit to paying the $800,000 to the Rodemakers. It is my commitment to continue to be a good steward of the taxpayers’ money.”
He referenced a clause that would allow the insurance company to possibly pay the defendant without the majority board’s approval.
“The minority board have selfishly implied that it’s not our money; however, I beg to differ. The taxpayers give their money to the school system to support its effort to operate a first-class city school system,” Lee said. “We pay an insurance company thousands of dollars to stand ready to defend in instances like this that we are in.”
Lee said he feels the insurance company is not defending the “innocence” of the board, but rather its personal motive to “get rid of the issue.”
“I may be wrong and I can’t say for sure but it seems as if the collaboration and personal motives are undermining that which is in the best interest of our system,” Lee said.
Lee’s motioned that the board place the item on hold with the insurance company so that no further actions can be taken until further notice and the Valdosta Board of Education will secure legal representation to move forward with the Rodemaker lawsuit.
Lee received support from board members Tyra Howard and Kelisa Brown on the motion. Members Trey Sherwood, Stacy Bush, Tad Moseley and Debra Bell voted against. Liz Shumpard abstained.
With that motion not passing, the lawsuit continues to remain in discussion.
Valdosta School Superintendent Dr. Todd Cason said they will be talking with counsel Wednesday as to where they are and how to move forward.