The Sarasota County School Board paid an outside law firm $20,290 to investigate complaints made against Superintendent Todd Bowden and Booker High Principal Rachel Shelley.
The Sarasota County School Board was billed for more than $20,000 in fees associated with an investigation into complaints against Superintendent Todd Bowden and Booker High School Principal Rachel Shelley.
In November 2017, Booker High School Assistant Principal Lyna Jimenez-Ruiz filed a complaint alleging that Bowden and Shelley retaliated against her after she accused Bowden in 2016 of engaging in sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.
Jimenez-Ruiz said she was unfairly reassigned job duties after filing the first complaint.
The 2016 accusations were investigated and determined to be “unfounded.”
The school board agreed to hire Orlando-based attorneys Suzanne D’Agresta and Richard Blystone to investigate the most recent complaint in December.
After 115 hours of work and a total charge of $20,290.21, the attorneys found the complaints against both administrators were also unfounded.
“To be frank, while there was a vast amount of information to wade through, this was not a close call,” the report states.
In 2016, the district was charged $22,750 for the investigation into Jimenez-Ruiz’s complaints against Bowden.
The school board also agreed to reimburse Bowden for the costs of hiring legal counsel. At the time of publication, the district had not received any invoices.