Laid off Hanover teacher files notice of lawsuit against school board
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent August 17, 2012 5:00PM
Updated: September 19, 2012 6:09AM
CEDAR LAKE — A Hanover Central High School teacher who claims he was wrongfully terminated at the end of the school year is seeking $300,000 in damages from the school corporation.
Former vocational education teacher Brian Vukadinovich Wednesday filed a notice of claim with the Hanover Community School Corp. board and the Indiana Political Subdivision Risk Management Commission seeking damages for “breach of contract, negligence, bad faith, and wrongful and unlawful acts associated with the breach of the contract.”
Vukadinovich’s position with the school corporation was eliminated June 12 in a reduction in force. At the time Superintendent Carol Kaiser cited declining enrollment numbers. In his claim Vukadinovich alleges that enrollment in his class remained strong and had increased since he first began teaching in 2004.
He claims he was denied due process as part of the termination when a request for a private meeting with the school board to discuss the matter was denied. In the claim he asserts the facts surrounding his termination were misrepresented to the school board by the superintendent and by denying him a chance to meet privately with board members as allowed by state statute the board is in breach of his contract.
“The notice of claim is required under state law before a formal lawsuit can be filed against a governmental agency,” Vukadinovich said in an email interview Friday.
The school corporation has 90 days from the date of receipt of the notice to decide whether it wants to approve or deny the claim. If the claim is denied, Vukadinovich can then proceed to file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Hammond.
Vukadinovich said the notice of claim deals specifically with state law and not the pending federal issues. He also has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. No decision yet has been made on that complaint. If the matter in the notice of claim does proceed to a lawsuit, Vukadinovich said it is at that time he will also seek damages on the federal claims.
“There will be substantial additional damages sought for the federal claims when the formal lawsuit is filed for age discrimination, retaliation, due process and equal protection of law issues,” Vukadinovich said.
Vukadinovich is representing himself.
School corporation attorney William Kaminski could not be reached for comment.