Adviser gets $74,000, attorney’s fees in settlement with school district

INDIANA — Franklin Township Schools will pay former newspaper adviser Chad Tuley about $74,000 and cover his attorney’s fees per an out-of-court settlement signed last week.

The terms of the confidential settlement were acquired by the Student Press Law Center following an Indiana Open Records Law request filed with the school district superintendent’s office.

Tuley will continue to be paid his regular salary through May 30, when his resignation takes effect, and will receive an additional $40,000 lump sum payment after that, according to the settlement. The settlement also stipulates the school district will pay Tuley’s legal fees of $23,125.

Tuley, who is on sabbatical leave, agreed never to work for the school district again.

The agreement also states that neither party is allowed to comment on the issue or provide a copy of the settlement to anyone unless required to do so by law.

Tuley’s lawyer Ed Delaney would not comment except to say it appears the school district already violated the agreement when Scott Miley, a district spokesman, commented on the settlement in an Indianapolis Star article.

In that article Miley revealed Tuley is owed $33, 793.40 in salary for the remainder of the year, which is not disclosed in the settlement, and said the school district’s liability insurance company will be paying Tuley’s attorney fees.

Tuley said he was thankful for his former students’ support and that he wants to advise again.

This kind of case makes people realize how important the First Amendment is, Tuley said, adding that the case was about the First Amendment, not money.

Tuley declined to comment on the settlement itself.

Tuley was removed as adviser of Pilot Flashes and suspended for a week with pay in November 2004 after the student newspaper printed an article about a student arrested on murder charges.

He was eventually reassigned to a middle school, which he said he saw as punishment for allowing publication of the article in question.

After asking to be reinstated as adviser and being denied, he filed suit against the school district claming his and his students’ First Amendment rights had been violated.

by Clay Gaynor, SPLC staff writer

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