Taylor's attorney: East Valley P.E. teacher handed termination letter

Taylor's attorney: East Valley P.E. teacher handed termination letter »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- The East Valley P.E. teacher acquitted of having inappropriate relationships with students was recently handed a termination letter despite a pending court appeal of her suspension.

Michele Taylor's attorney confirms to KIMA his client received the letter but wouldn't discuss the specifics.

Taylor has fought tooth and nail to keep her job since her criminal investigation.

"The idea that she would automatically return, I don't believe, your honor, is correct. I think East Valley has the option of not bringing her back," said Taylor's attorney Joe Evans during a court hearing in October.

It looks like this court argument from Evans was right. At the time, he tried to get Taylor's suspension frozen during her appeals.

That was recently denied and leaves her without state certification to teach.

The East Valley School District says that's grounds for termination.

"I think we're always concerned with using public funds for somebody that, a, no longer has a teaching certificate and, b, is not performing the job at all," said East Valley School District Attorney Mike Patterson.

Patterson hinted at Taylor's termination during an interview with KIMA in October.

The district has paid her more than $120,000 while on paid leave and says she's still getting paid.

East Valley's move goes against a decision by a hearing officer in 2010 that Taylor couldn't be fired.

It's fighting to have that overturned in the Court of Appeals but still argues it has the right to fire her because she lost her certification.

Taylor's own appeal is pending in Superior Court to overturn the ruling that upheld her suspension and set the stage for her firing.

Taylor's attorney argues if she wins her appeal in Superior Court to throw out the suspension, she'd have her license and the firing wouldn't be justified.

Evans said his client hasn't decided yet whether to appeal the termination directly.

To get all sides we contacted Michele Taylor, her lawyer and the East Valley School District but no one agreed to a recorded interview.