School officials head to overtime settlement conference Thursday

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
March 6, 2002
Several public school districts, including Meridian and Lauderdale County, are expected to participate Thursday in a conference with a federal judge in Biloxi about overtime pay lawsuits.
U.S. Magistrate John Roper is scheduled to meet with Lauderdale County school representatives at 1:30 p.m. and with Meridian school representatives two hours later.
The conferences were scheduled to either prepare a settlement or get the cases ready for trial.
John Compton, attorney for both school districts, said Roper likely will suggest that the school districts settle with former and current employees who filed overtime lawsuits. Compton discussed the issue at a Meridian School Board meeting Tuesday.
The overtime issue for school districts arose in 1998 with a lawsuit filed by non-certified employees in the Oktibbeha County School District. They claimed they were owed overtime pay.
Since that time, about 70 former and current employees of the Meridian Public School District have filed suit against the district for overtime pay. Compton said records show the district owes about 20 plaintiffs $7,500.
The district was not allowed to contact the individuals in the lawsuit for settlement.
In other business, the Meridian School Board approved an offer from Tommy Dulaney to place an "Around Town Carousels Abound" carousel horse at Poplar Springs Elementary School. His business will sponsor the horse.
In a letter to the board, Dulaney, who is owner of Structural Steel Services Inc., said he wanted to place the carousel horse at Poplar Springs because it is the school his grandchildren attended.
The carousel horse public art displays are sponsored at a cost of $2,500.

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