PA School District Settles Domestic Partner Lawsuit

October 26, 2011 ( – The State College, Pennsylvania, Area School District will pay $42,500 to elementary school guidance counselor Kerry Wiessmann and her same-sex domestic partner to settle a lawsuit, reports Centre Daily Times. 

The school board approved the settlement in a 9-0 vote. As part of the agreement, the district’s insurance provider will also pay $47,000 to cover the attorney fees for Wiessmann.

The vote closes a legal dispute that began in May (see K-12 School District Facing Bias Lawsuit) when Wiessmann filed a lawsuit against the district, alleging discrimination. According to the article, Wiessmann is an elementary school guidance counselor in the district, who jointly owns a home and is raising two children with her domestic partner, Beth G. Resko. The district would not provide Resko with health care benefits, but would do so for opposite-sex domestic partners.

In July, the district and Wiessmann agreed to a consent order that dictated some of the terms the two sides would have to follow. The board approved providing benefits to all same-sex domestic partners that same month, states Centre Daily Times.

As part of the settlement, board members agreed to vote on a nondiscrimination policy, and they passed one in August with a 6-2 vote.

The final issue was how much Wiessmann was owed for damages, which was resolved through a mediation session held on October 13.