Appellate court stands by decision that OTHS board wrongly fired gym teacher in 2015

Appellate court stands by decision that OTHS board wrongly fired gym teacher in 2015

The Third District Appellate Court in Ottawa isn’t changing its ruling that the Ottawa High School Board was wrong to fire teacher Tim Burgess in 2015.

The board fired the tenured Burgess over alleged insults and a threat toward some other teachers at union meetings. The board also claimed that Burgess violated a previous order to control his anger.

In October, the Appellate Court found that the board didn’t have cause to fire Burgess. The board asked the court to reconsider, arguing that it was in the best position to make a decision regarding its staff.

In a ruling several days ago, the court again stood by its decision saying that testimony from the board’s witnesses was too inconsistent to prove that Burgess insulted or threatened anyone.

Further, that Burgess didn’t violate a past order from the district because his alleged misconduct happened behind closed doors and wouldn’t affect his ability to teach.

The district could appeal the decision to the Illinois Supreme Court, rehire Burgess, or work out a settlement.