Wilson files lawsuit against school board

Published 12:04 am Tuesday, August 8, 2017

NATCHEZ — A Natchez man at the center of a failed petition attempt to slow school district efforts to borrow $9 million for a building project filed a lawsuit last week asking the court to strike down the school board’s actions.

Kevin Wilson filed a bill of exceptions Thursday in Adams County Circuit Court.

Wilson’s lawsuit alleges the school board’s resolution to borrow $9 million violated the law by not providing proper notice to the citizens of Adams County and by not following proper procedures as set by state law.

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Wilson’s lawsuit hinges on actions, or non-actions, taken at a July 20 board meeting which ended after a melee ensued.

As a result of the ruckus at the meeting, the lawsuit contends, the school board improperly adjourned the meeting and failed to vote on the matter as outlined by the public notice published to give citizens a chance to dispute the matter.

The school board ultimately voted on the matter in a hastily called special meeting on July 26, giving the public only 3 hours and 33 minutes notice before meeting.

The lawsuit alleges by voting on July 26, the board did not properly notify the public “15 days prior to the date upon which the school board is to take final action upon the question of authorizing the borrowing of said money,” as required by law.

The lawsuit also alleges board president Amos James improperly adjourned the July 20 meeting by simply declaring the meeting adjourned, rather than taking the proper steps to adjourn the meeting.

Wilson’s lawsuit also alleges the board’s special called meeting on July 26 did not provide “actual and constructive notice to petitioners.”

In the lawsuit, Wilson’s attorney, Paul A. Koerber from Biloxi, asks the court to reverse the decisions of the board on July 26 and make null and void the board’s efforts to borrow $9 million for the schools.

The July 20 meeting was suspended after school board member Phillip West read a statement in which he suggested the residents who signed the petition to send the $9 million loan to a vote in November had racial motivations.

His comments caused members of the audience to become upset, some of whom threatened West before the meeting ended.

As a result, West filed charges against Wilson’s son.

The petition effort failed to obtain the approximately 3,000 votes required to put the matter on the ballot.

The July 20 meeting was reconvened after a 30-minute break to conduct the remaining business on the school board’s agenda.