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Hester v. Lowndes County Sch. Dist.

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

August 20, 2013

STACY OLIVER HESTER, APPELLANT
v.
LOWNDES COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLEE; LOWNDES COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLANT
v.
JOSEPH LYNN WRIGHT, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: LOWNDES COUNTY CHANCERY COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/30/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. DOROTHY WINSTON COLOM. TRIAL COURT APPELLANT'S TERMINATION AFFIRMED. COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: LOWNDES COUNTY CHANCERY COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/22/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. DOROTHY WINSTON COLOM. TRIAL COURT APPELLEE'S TERMINATION REVERSED AND RENDERED; BACK PAY AWARDED.

FOR APPELLANT: JIM WAIDE.

FOR APPELLEE: JEFFREY CARTER SMITH.

FOR APPELLANT: JEFFREY CARTER SMITH.

FOR APPELLEE: JIM WAIDE.

BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., MAXWELL AND FAIR, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR. BARNES, J., CONCURS IN PART AND IN THE RESULT.

OPINION

Page 326

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - OTHER

FAIR, J.:

¶1. This is a consolidated appeal from the termination of two employees of the Lowndes County School District. Stacy Hester, once the baseball coach at New Hope High School, was fired for financing a $15,000 fairway mower in the school's name. Principal Joseph Wright was terminated for executing a document purporting to give Hester the authority to bind

Page 327

the school in the purchase. Both appealed their firings to the Lowndes County Chancery Court, which affirmed Hester's termination and reversed Wright's, awarding him lost wages. Hester and the school district appeal their respective adverse decisions. We find the school board acted on sufficient and substantial evidence and within its discretionary power. We therefore affirm the chancery court's judgment upholding Hester's termination, but we reverse and render its decision reinstating Wright.

FACTS

¶2. In 2007, Wright became the principal of New Hope High School. According to him, Hester, who had been the baseball coach for many years, proposed acquiring a used John Deere fairway mower for $15,000. The price was said to be excellent. Wright admitted he and Hester both knew the school could not purchase the mower for a number of reasons, and Hester's proposal for the school to buy it had already been abandoned. Hester instead would acquire it through the baseball booster club, ...


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