A board member with the Northwestern School Corp. has filed a lawsuit against the school district, claiming he was wrongly denied a lucrative school bus contract.

Now, the district is asking the courts to make a “summary judgment” on the case that was brought against the school corporation by board member Steve Jones and his wife, Kristy Jones. In law, a summary judgment is a judgment entered by a court for one party and against another party summarily, that is, without a full trial.

The Joneses have been subcontractors on bus routes for Northwestern School Corp. for the past 15 years.

In a complaint filed April 14, 2019, the Joneses allege Northwestern School Corp. refused to accept their bids while accepting identical bids for the 2019-2023 school years.

The Joneses also allege that new buses were purchased in preparation for the new routes and as such they have, “suffered damages as a result of conduct of the corporation in the loss of the value of their contracts and expenses related to the order of new vehicles.”

The school corporation denied wrongdoing in a June 11 answer to the lawsuit, saying it went with the lowest bidder as required by law. It also states that the couple did not properly file conflict of interest paperwork with the State Board of Accounts.

The request for the summary judgment by the school district also states that the Joneses did not follow legal procedures.

The district alleges a claim against the school is barred unless a notice is filed with “the governing body of that political subdivision.” According to the document, no such notice was filed by the Joneses.

“Because the Joneses did not submit the notice described in 34-13-3.5-4 to the school or board before initiating this civil action, the court in the alternative is required to dismiss their action without prejudice.”

Bilkey had no comment on the filing on the summary judgment. Lawyers for both parties have also not responded to requests comment or have refused to comment.

If a summary judgment is not issued by the courts, a bench trial is currently scheduled for May 6 and is expected to take three days.

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