Freeburg settlements are the public's business

February 23, 2014 

The Freeburg School District would just as soon the public didn't know how much it cost to settle the claims of four former students who said they were sexually abused by former superintendent Robin Hawkins.

The district ultimately released the settlements under the state's Freedom of Information Act. But it initially resisted disclosing the details.

It's important that taxpayers know. Some people supported Hawkins, who committed suicide, rather than the victims. But the settlements -- more than $3 million to one former student and more than $2 million to another -- are evidence that the board believed their claims.

As part of the settlement, the district admitted no guilt. But school leaders wouldn't agree to pay out millions of dollars unless they thought the former students could win their cases in court.