Shoreline Unified Settles Retaliation Lawsuit

The Shoreline Unified School District has settled a lawsuit from a former administrator who claimed he was retaliated against for challenging the re-election of Marin County’s superintendent of schools. 

Matthew Nagle was the principal of West Marin and Inverness schools for six years before he was demoted to an elementary school teaching position in Bodega Bay in 2018. Nagle believed it to be punishment for his unsuccessful election bid against longtime Superintendent Mary Jane Burke. Nagle filed a lawsuit alleging retaliation, defamation, and violation of his First Amendment rights. 

The settlement reached last month cost Shoreline $700,000–about $1,100 per pupil, according to the Marin Independent Journal. It will come out of reserves, resulting in a 10% reduction. Under the terms of the deal, Nagle has resigned.

The school district denies wrongdoing, but has declined to provide details about the timeline or Nagle’s demotion.

In an op-ed, the Marin Independent Journal notes Shorline parents and educators have been left with more questions than answers. 

The lawsuit never reached a courtroom, but the settlement, particularly its cost to taxpayers, raises questions about district officials’ repeated denial that they did anything wrong.

All they’ve said publicly is: “It was in the best interests of the district and our students and staff to settle the matter.” That’s probably true.

Possibly, that’s also the problem. Without full disclosure of the matter, the public is left in the dark.


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