Gateway Teachers Union Issues Legal Threats After Board Fires Superintendent

The Gateway School District Board of Trustees will meet Thursday while classes are in session to discuss a legal threat from their teacher’s union. The board fired Superintendent Jim Harrell on a 3 to 2 vote during a meeting in December, a decision that was loudly opposed by many parents and teachers. Harrell still has a year remaining on his contract, which will apparently require a six-figure buyout. This week the Gateway Teachers Association sent a cease and desist letter to the board, saying the dismissal of public comment at last week’s meeting was unlawful, undemocratic and a blatant sign of disrespect to community members in the district, adding that the board should seek formal training on how to run a meeting. They’re also accused of engaging in whispered conversations with each other during an open meeting, which is a violation of the Brown Act. The issue will be discussed with legal counsel during a closed session at 11AM Thursday, followed by an open session at 11:30AM. The board might choose to comply with the union’s demands, which include rescinding motions made at the last meeting. The letter also demands an apology from Board President Cherrill Clifford. The Shasta Lake City area district is composed of Central Valley High School along with four elementary schools and three alternative schools.