Settlement reached in lawsuit involving former athletic director and Academy School District 20

0
Photo - Diane Shuck, who had worked as assistant principal and athletic director at Air Academy High School, and Academy School District 20, reached a settlement agreement Jan. 25, according to court documents. (Photo via Twitter)
Diane Shuck, who had worked as assistant principal and athletic director at Air Academy High School, and Academy School District 20, reached a settlement agreement Jan. 25, according to court documents. (Photo via Twitter)

A legal dispute between a longtime high school athletic director who was abruptly removed from her post three years ago under claims of policy violations and Colorado Springs' second-largest school district is over.

Diane Shuck, who had worked as assistant principal and athletic director at Air Academy High School, and Academy School District 20 reached a settlement agreement Jan. 25, according to court documents.

District officials would not reveal the terms.

"Academy District 20 wants to adhere to the spirit of the agreement, which requires confidentiality. and therefore, will not comment on the specifics of this case," spokeswoman Allison Cortez said Friday in a statement. "We are, however, pleased to resolve this matter so all parties can move forward."

Shuck was not reinstated, as originally requested, Cortez said.

After being removed as Air Academy High's assistant principal and athletic director in January 2015, Shuck was reassigned as a student interventionist in February 2015 for the remainder of the school year.

She turned down an offer from D-20 to work as a physical education teacher at a reduced salary for the 2015-2016 school year.

Shuck now works as assistant principal and activities director at Douglas County High School in Castle Rock and could not be reached for comment.

Cortez said the cost of the case to the district, including attorneys' fees, was covered by the district's $25,000 insurance deductible.

Shuck filed a civil lawsuit against D-20's five board members and three employees in September 2015 in Colorado U.S. District Court in Denver, claiming wrongful removal and demotion.

The complaint stated that Shuck "suffered economic and non-economic injuries, monetary damages, injury to reputation and severe emotional distress." The suit contended that D-20 "applied administrative policies, procedures, and practices in a discriminatory, inconsistent and inequitable manner."

District officials said Shuck had violated multiple policies by "loaning" money from one team account to another or to her own activity account, using money from gate receipts to purchase alcohol for coaches' dinners and functions, and showing "missing or misdirected" money as a result of her actions.

District officials also claimed Shuck breached rules by hiring some assistant coaches to work with kids without first going through a background check, hiring her son to do work for the hockey team and paying volunteers who had not completed a required district process.

D-20 filed counter claims Feb. 5, 2016, asserting Shuck had engaged in civil theft, fraudulent misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty.

A U.S. magistrate judge dismissed some of the counter claims Sept. 5, 2017, regarding assertions that Shuck violated district policy prohibiting spending student activity money on alcohol, hired her sons without adequate approval in violation of a conflict of interest policy and not requiring background checks on potential coaches who worked with students.

The judge denied Shuck's request for dismissal of claims regarding "alleged misrepresentation that she conducted a reference check on an applicant prior to being hired."

The lawsuit must be dismissed by March 8.