BSD beefs up its legal fund in light of Kennedy issue

After our story Sunday on how Bremerton School District and Joe Kennedy are handling legal costs related to their dispute over whether Kennedy has the right to pray on the field after games, district spokeswoman Patty Glaser gave me some updated information.

As mentioned in the story, when and if Kennedy sues the district, the matter will be turned over to BSD’s insurance risk pool. The district’s annual premium for the risk pool (School Insurance Association of Washington) is $579,536, Glaser said in an email Monday.

Glaser and others took me to task for implying in the original story that legal posturing between Kennedy and the district short of a suit is not directly impacting the district’s budget and diverting money that would otherwise go to the classroom.

On Monday, I updated the story to clarify that legal costs the district has incurred so far in its dispute with Kennedy are covered by a legal fund that is part of the general fund, and so potentially have a direct impact on the classroom.

Last week, when I spoke with Glaser and Superintendent Aaron Leavell, they said the legal fund had been adequate so far to cover legal counsel related to the Kennedy issue. On Monday Glaser said that the dispute arose at the start of the district’s fiscal year and the fund could fall short, requiring the district to tap other sources. Furthermore, money in the legal fund is money that, were it not needed, could be diverted back to the classroom, she added.

On Monday afternoon, Glaser got back to me with updated legal costs in October (which were not available for the story Sunday). The district in October incurred $10,512 in legal costs. The legal bill in September, when the issue arose, was $6,600. The district has increased the amount in its legal fund from $140,000 to $190,000 “in anticipation of legal costs for JK.”

“We have not calculated the staff time diverted to this matter,” Glaser said in answer to a question raised by several people who read the story.

8 thoughts on “BSD beefs up its legal fund in light of Kennedy issue

  1. Funny how you do your partial correction a day late and a dollar short. You seem to be leaving a lot of facts on the cutting table.

  2. From what you are saying, the District has moved an additional $50,000 from the general budget to the legal fund in anticipation of legal costs. That sure sounds like money is being taken away from the classroom.

  3. Yes, John. That is true. In my initial story on the legal cost implications, I was focused on reports and social media comments that said the district would directly bear the cost of a lawsuit. (Some posts by individuals implied a drain of millions of dollars on the general fund.) I wanted to make clear that the district is part of a risk pool, and that any lawsuit would be handled through the risk pool. In doing so, however, I did not make clear the impact of pre-lawsuit legal wrangling on the general fund. In updated information I received from the district Monday, not only was it clear that there was the potential for a cost over-run in the district’s legal fund (initially budgeted at $140,000) as a result of the Kennedy issue but that the district anticipates that legal costs short of a lawsuit will exceed the annual legal fund budget. So district officials have added $50,000 to the fund. The legal fund as I understand it is part of the general fund. While it’s not clear whether all of that money will be spent, it is clearly money diverted from the classroom. I apologize that was not clear in the original story. Chris Henry

    1. The Sun’s “reporting” on the Joe Kennedy story has amounted to so much pandering drivel. You should be embarrassed. :-p

  4. Is interesting how we demonize those who disagree with us at times . The best result in this from my view was when the coach submitted to authority and I believe everyone felt somewhat glad the bickering and hostile attacks were over . But he changed mind , and that does not make him less of a man , less sincere , and those who have attempted to demonize him have been accompanied by those calling any religious belief child abuse , mocking of the Virgin birth to making memes of Jesus Christ a homosexual kissing other men . Those who support Kennedys as a person have been mocked attacked and religious beliefs brought in to the conversation . The Sun reported the districts side and the Kennedy side , without attacking either ,. I call that reporting , and surprisingly glad. For this issue has shown not just the recent case law limiting religious expression , it has shown the deep rooted hatred of any religious beliefs , freedom from religion memes circulating the social media , religious views suggesting will bring on the Inquisition , with witch burning and worse . In the mean time our French friends lie murdered by those who have no support for religious freedom , and the concern is over a coach , possibly wrong under current case law being portrayed as just another view equal with Satanism . France will explain certain views carry different outcomes . Thanking God for the safety of kids equal with religious terrorism also ? .

    One time saying thank you prayers before a dinner celebrating our sports success in HS was allowed , found that to be no longer allowed even though no one thought wrong of it , especially our culture , that is no longer , but that culture would never have stated anything about those men who prayed like they have today . The reason The First Amendment was written was because our Founders and leaders believed religion was an asset , not a detriment , that is was so important to communities that government had to stay out of it . Today the majority here are using the First Amendment because they are intolerant of religion , mock those who believe in it , and use the government as their tool .

    The person whose face book page was started to get the coach fired as the administrator has showing on his face book page a cartoon of coach Kennedy as a private male organ . With lewd comments with it , those who have been very vocal in this see nothing wrong with this I suppose , rather demonize the people supporting this man . . I find it sad we have gone so far below our core values for respect that this guy has been treated like this.

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