- $450K to Rahder

From left, Bruce Denney, Jay Kirksey, Cathy Rahder and Brian Wilbanks.

Roughly 1-1/2 years ago, Cathleen “Cathy” Rahder sued the Seymour R-II School District for $1 million.

Last Thursday, the Seymour R-II Board of Education approved a settlement agreement that will pay Rahder a total of $450,000, all of which will be paid by the district’s insurer, the Missouri United School Insurance Council, commonly known by its acronym of M.U.S.I.C.

In her suit filed in federal court, title Rahder v. Seymour R-II School District, Rahder was represented by attorney Jay Kirksey of the Kirksey Law Firm of Bolivar.

Of the $450,000 that Rahder will receive, the settlement agreement stipulates that the Kirksey Law Firm will receive $191,590.42.

Rahder will receive two checks.

One for $193,807.18 is “in consideration of Mrs. Rahder’s alleged and disputed retaliation claims as asserted in the lawsuit.”

This amount will be paid to Rahder as compensation “for her alleged but disputed damages, including, but not limited to her alleged physical injuries, sickness damages and emotional distress.”

The second check is for $64,602.40.

Per the settlement, it’s being paid to Rahder “as payment of her alleged and disputed unpaid wage claim.”

Seymour R-II was represented in the lengthy litigation by attorney Grant Wiens of M.U.S.I.C.

When the lawsuit by Rahder was filed on Feb. 2, 2019, Rahder cited alleged actions taken by Brian Wilbanks, the former high-school principal, and former Seymour superintendent Bruce Denney.

In addition to the $450,000 paid by M.U.S.I.C., terms of the settlement require the district provide a letter of reference to Rahder, titled “Exhibit A.”

Exhibit A, dated July 27, 2020, and signed by Steve Richards, the district’s current superintendent, reads, “Ms. Rahder was employed as a certified teacher at the Seymour R-II School District from the 2015-16 school year through the 2018-19 school year. During her time as a teacher at the district, Ms. Rahder also served as coach of the high-school cheerleading team. Ms. Rahder was a supportive influence in our schools as indicated in her positive performance evaluations. She helped students actively engage and participate in the classroom. She encouraged students to acquire skills and knowledge in order to effectively communicate both within and beyond the school community.”

In May, the district settled a similar lawsuit filed by current Seymour High School teacher Linda Herion.

In that suit, M.U.S.I.C. paid $50,000 to Herion.

She remains a teacher at the high school.

Rahder recently was hired for the upcoming 2020-21 school year as a second-grade teacher at the Ava Elementary School, located about 20 miles southeast of Seymour.

Richards declined to comment on the recent settlement with Rahder.

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