After hearing three hours of arguments and testimony, Circuit Judge Tim Fox has taken under advisement the taxpayer lawsuit challenging the contract buyout of Little Rock School Superintendent Roy Brooks. The plaintiffs, who argue the buyout is an illegal exaction, wanted Fox to issue a restraining order against the district. The district's lawyer says the buyout is a common practice and that Brooks' contract is similar to others entered into by the school district. The district's lawyer, Chip Welch, asked that the suit be dismissed on summary judgment.
Plaintffs offered testimony from a lawyer and a human resources officer, among others, seeming to attempt to make the case that the buyout clause was unusual. But none of the witnesses had been expert witnesses before or had previous experience with a school superintendent's contract.
The judge said he'd hoped today's hearing would provide more "clarity," but it did not.
It's a simple question: Is a buyout -- a common practice in the past and a provision in many contracts -- allowed under the Arkansas Constitution? If not, it will be a monumental course change in public contract law in Arkansas.