Judge Rules Nelson County Board of Education Violated Open Meetings Act and Orders Funding for District Facilities Plan

BARDSTOWN, KY – In a recent lawsuit between NC Forward and the Nelson County Board of Education, Judge Mark A. Thurmond ruled that the board violated the Open Meetings Act. Acting as the special judge in the case, Thurmond also issued a temporary order to proceed with funding the current District Facilities Plan.

The lawsuit, filed by NC Forward, highlights several new developments. Former board member Damon Jackey and former board attorney Eric Farris have resigned, and board member Tracy Bowling made a public statement about business conducted outside of public meetings. Matthew Hite, the attorney representing NC Forward, emphasized that the aim of the lawsuit is not to influence school politics, but to stop a school board that acts recklessly and imposes an inadequate education structure on certain children in Nelson County.

On January 2, Hite filed a memorandum outlining the alleged willful violations of the Open Meetings Act. Specifically, he claimed that four board members—Amanda Deaton, Diane Berry, David Norman, and Nicole Milburn—had agreed outside of a meeting to terminate the superintendent’s employment contract. Hite cited a special-called meeting on January 3, during which the possible removal of Superintendent Wes Bradley was discussed. Though no action was taken that night, Hite argued that the violation occurred when the decision to terminate Bradley’s contract was made outside of a regular meeting process.

In response to Hite’s motion, Judge Thurmond issued two temporary orders, declaring that the Nelson County Board of Education had indeed violated the Open Meetings Act. The first order prohibited the board from taking any action against Superintendent Bradley. The second stated that if there was cause to terminate Bradley’s contract, a motion would need to be filed with the court for review.

The lawsuit has two upcoming hearings—one to address the Open Meetings Act violation and another for a status review of an open records request denial. The Nelson County Board of Education is also scheduled to hold its next regular meeting on January 16 at Nelson County High School.

In conclusion, Judge Thurmond has ruled in favor of NC Forward, finding that the Nelson County Board of Education violated the Open Meetings Act. The board is now under temporary orders preventing any action against Superintendent Bradley.