BROOKSVILLE — Former Hernando Schools Assistant Superintendent Ken Pritz has filed a lawsuit against the School Board under Florida’s Whistle-Blower’s Act.
In the lawsuit, filed July 21 in Hernando Circuit Court, Pritz claims that he “suffered unlawful retaliation” after Schools Superintendent Lori Romano sent a memo to district officials and the School Board on Pritz’s letterhead.
Romano sent the memo after transferring him from his position as Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning to become manager of the district warehouse, Pritz claims.
The lawsuit states that Pritz’s $101,724 salary was to be reduced by 40 percent in the coming year; however, Pritz objected to the pay cut, and Romano did not offer him a contract this year.
The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and damages in excess of $15,000, which would compensate him for lost wages. Pritz is also seeking to be reinstated to the district at his former salary.
“Mr. Pritz didn’t want to lose his job,” said his attorney, Robert Bruce Snow, to whom Pritz has referred questions about the lawsuit.
“He worked his way up through the ranks as a faithful, loyal employee,” Snow said. “He appreciated his tenure as an educator and was looking forward to continuing in that fashion for a number of years.”
Pritz was a finalist for the superintendency that went to Romano last year. Romano said she could not comment on the pending lawsuit.
Pritz worked for the district for 34 years in a variety of positions, including teacher, coach, manager, assistant principal, principal and executive director.
After his transfer to the warehouse, Pritz claims that Romano sent the memo, titled “New Roles and Responsibilities,” which was written in first-person and indicated that it had been sent from Pritz. The lawsuit says the memo was “false, deceptive and misleading.”
Snow said Pritz immediately objected and filed a complaint with the school board. The lawsuit claims that Pritz’s transfer to the warehouse and subsequent termination were retaliatory acts by Romano.
Pritz is also scheduled for a hearing before the School Board. Dennis Alfonso, the school board’s attorney, said that could happen in mid- or late-September.
Snow said it is too soon to say when the case might go to trial, but said Pritz wants it to happen “as quickly as possible.”