Clare Board of Education. Mayra Settle Lawsuit Details not Released

December 2, 2019

By Pat Maurer

A lawsuit against Clare Public Schools a year ago has been settled, although the terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

A former Adult Education Teacher, Julie Mayra, claimed her job was terminated because of “sex discrimination and retaliation.”

Mayra, who is lesbian, said she was open about her sexual orientation with the staff at Clare Schools and was promoted to a full-time position during her employment.

She claimed she had a good working relationship until the 2016-17 school year, when the Board of Education hired James Walter as the new superintendent and new principal Georgette Kelly, a member of the Pentecostal Church who Mayra claimed, “publicly displays her dislike of homosexuals.”

Mayra said she was never disciplined before Kelly became her supervisor but was then was the only teacher given an Individual Development Plan (IDP) without being consulted despite the fact that her students tested higher for college readiness in her subject area than in other subject areas. She said she believed she was “singled out” because of her sexual orientation.

Mayra filed a formal complaint to the school board in November of 2016 followed by documentation in December and by the complaint to the EEOC in January.

In April, 2017, Mayra was notified she was being laid off due to “budgetary reasons” with the layoff effective August 18th.

She said she was the only teacher laid off, and after her layoff, the School Administration posted a position comparable to hers. In June she received her final evaluation giving her an overall rating of “ineffective” based on absences, many Family Medical Leave Act related. She said she was turned down for FMLA leave for stress and anxiety because of Kelly’s treatment.

After her layoff, Mayra said she applied for several other open positions at the district, but was not hired with the jobs going to less qualified applicants. She claims if she was heterosexual, she wouldn’t have been treated in that manner.

She filed suit against the district in November.

In the defendant’s (Clare Public School’s) answer to the complaint, they “denied the allegations of Mayra’s complaint as being “legally and factually unfounded.” They claimed the discipline against Mayra was “pursuant to the policies and procedures set forth by the district.” and denied the remaining allegations “as being untrue or otherwise inaccurate.” They also denied liability or damages in connection with the allegations and denied the claims of sexual discrimination.

The board met several times in closed session to discuss negotiations on a settlement.

The Clare Board of Education met in another closed session on October 28. When they came back into open session, the board approved a motion to approve a settlement agreement. Superintendent Jim Walter said any further information would have to come from the district’s attorney.

The school’s attorney, Attorney Gregory W. Mair of O’Neill, Wallace & Doyle, P.C. in Saginaw, said Monday that details of the settlement would not be released according to an agreement between the two parties.

He said, “Counsel for both parties on behalf of their respective clients have indicated that they have reached an amicable resolution of the lawsuit and the matter has been dismissed accordingly.”

Mayra was represented by Julie A. Gafkay, of Gafkay Law, PLC in Frankenmuth.

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