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Laguna Beach schools trustee intends to go to court over board’s decision to leave her off panel

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Laguna Beach Unified School District board member Dee Perry, second from right, intends to file a lawsuit against her peers on the board, according to a letter from her attorney.
(Lilly Nguyen)

A Laguna Beach school board member intends to seek a restraining order blocking a recent decision by her peers to leave her off a subcommittee, according to a letter from her attorney that asserts that she also plans to file a lawsuit seeking at least $25,000 in damages.

Dee Perry, who has served on the Laguna Beach Unified board since 2014, wants a judge to reverse her colleagues’ recent decision to form a subcommittee on confidential matters that includes everyone on the board but her, said her lawyer, Kathleen Loyer.

The four other board members voted to form the subcommittee last month because they said Perry had disseminated a confidential email written by a school district attorney.

Perry intends to seek a temporary restraining order that bars the subcommittee, according to a letter of intent from her lawyer, which was sent to the school board last week. The letter also asserts that the board violated its own policies and the state’s open-meeting law when it did not appoint Perry as president in December.

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Loyer said she and Perry want both decisions revoked.

Perry, who is out of the country, referred questions to her counsel.

“Our position is that the citizens are being harmed by the lack of representation, and her name is definitely getting taken through the mud,” Loyer said Tuesday.

Mark Bresee, the school district attorney who recommended forming the subcommittee, did not respond to requests for comment.

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District administrators also declined to comment, saying an official spokeswoman is out of the office until Monday.

School board President Jan Vickers said in an email that the board does not comment on pending litigation.

“It’s like they impeached her without getting rid of her,” Loyer said. “If they’re able to be successful in segregating her from the core work of the board, then that’s a pretty huge political statement and precedent.”

Perry plans to seek damages in excess of $25,000, according to the letter.

“Her goal in this, which was a very tortured decision, is … to be able to represent her constituents,” Loyer said. “This is what this is about — it isn’t about money.”

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