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August 10--  A Superior Court judge has turned down an appeal of the Montgomery County school board regarding it's firing of three teachers due to a reduction in force last year.

The school board's decision to terminate teachers Allie Rhodes, Lisa Parker and Marilyn Haymens was overturned by the Georgia Board of Education and prompted the school board to seek relief in the courts.

Oconee Judicial Circuit Judge Sarah Wall supported the state school board's contention that the Montgomery school board's decision was "arbitrary and capricious."

"They've got to have a policy and they've got to follow that policy and they didn't do that," says Vidalia attorney Macky Bryant who represented teacher Allie Rhodes.

"If they don't give you a reason as to how they're picking the people they're going to lay off, then there's no way to tell they're not being arbitrary.  They've got to have a plan and they never had one," Bryant says.

Two of the three teachers who were laid off, Parker and Rhodes, were rehired by the school system to work this school term before Judge Wall's decison.  County School Superintendent Randy Rodgers says, "The reason was we had positions open for which they were certified."

Rodgers estimates the judge's ruling in favor of the teachers will cost the school system up to $150,000 in back pay.

Rhodes attorney has another take on the rehiring.  "The fact they rehired her is probably a good move on the school board's part because it mitigates the damages," Bryant observes.