So. Coffey Co. school district will have to pay up after Equal Pay lawsuit

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW/AP) -- The Southern Coffey Co. School District will pay one its former principals more than $11,000 after paying her less than both the man who preceded her and the man who succeeded her.

Julie Rosenquist took over both USD 245’s Gridley Elementary and So. Coffey Co. Middle School in 2015, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. After nearly a year on the job, Rosenquist reportedly learned she was making thousands of dollars less than the man she replaced.

When she complained that her salary was $5,000 lower than his, the federal agency explains, district officials gave Rosenquist a $1,500 raise. When she left in 2017, the district hired a man to replace her – and that man’s salary was the same as the previous male principal’s.

In a statement to 13 NEWS, the district denied any wrongdoing in Rosenquist's hiring and contends she is not entitled to additional compensation.

The EEOC’s St. Louis office filed an Equal Pay lawsuit on her behalf and eventually reached a settlement with the district that would pay her $11,250.

In its statement, USD 245 says that amount was less than the EEOC was demanding. According to the district, its insurance company wanted to settle and it would "save on litigation costs and by extension tax payer money."

The consent decree filed Thursday in federal court requires the USD 245 to implement policies prohibiting pay inequity. It requires the district to collect wage data by sex for all employees and report it each year to the commission.