A whistleblower lawsuit against the Fort Worth school district filed by a former assistant principal will move forward after a judge overruled the school district's motion to dismiss the case.
The case, involving former Arlington Heights High School assistant principal Joe Palazzolo, is expected to go to trial in the spring in the 271st District Court in Decatur, said Jason C.N. Smith, a Fort Worth attorney representing Palazzolo.
Palazzolo filed suit against the school district in July, saying he was improperly demoted and then fired after reporting falsification of student attendance records and misuse of booster club funds by officials.
In a Dec. 5 news release, Smith summed up the case this way:
Palazzolo "reported in the spring of 2011 that school officials were altering student attendance records, misusing booster club funds, using inappropriate comments in front of students, and discriminating against minority students in applying discipline. Shortly after the reports, FWISD transferred Palazzolo to a lower paying position. Soon after that, FWISD recomended termination of Palazzolo.
"(Former) TEA Commissioner Robert Scott reversed Palazzolo's termination, concluding that FWISD had improperly paid the hearing examiner who heard Palazzolo's case over three times the amount allowed. FWISD then purportedly terminated Palazzolo in February 14, 2012 in a questionable action."
Palazzolo is pursuing two lawsuits against the school district, one involving the job transfer and another involving the termination. Both are expected to be heard at the same time before Judge John H. Fostel, Smith said.