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Published: Monday, March 05, 2018 @ 4:44 PM
ST. CLAIR TOWNSHIP — It’s the most talked about “class” in Butler County.
And Monday saw the first school staffer to complete the recently offered and free conceal carry weapon (CCW) class from Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones speak publicly about his experiences in learning how to use a handgun.
Rick Moore - a classroom instructional aide at Edgewood Middle School - told this news outlet the class was “very informative.”
Moore said the sheriff’s class instructor “did a great job, he was realistic and down to earth. I have a much better understanding about what is going on.”
But he said he knows completion of the course doesn’t give him any special powers.
Under Ohio law, local school boards are allowed by a majority board vote to let properly trained school employees carry or have access to handguns while schools. Only a few districts in Ohio have seen their boards take that action.
The Edgewood board in 2013 was the first in Southwest Ohio to allow staffers to apply to carry handguns but has since adopted the more restrictive 2017 Ohio law, which allows CCW trained personnel to keep a handgun in their locked cars on the school campus.
Moore was among the hundreds of area school teachers and employees to take Sheriff Jones up on his offer for free CCW courses in the wake of the Parkland, Fla. school shooting last month that left 17 students and staffers dead.
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 2:20 PM
MONROE — Plans for building a new Monroe School have been pushed back by a state school commission, leaving local school officials disappointed.
The Monroe school system remains on the eligibility list for state funding to help build a new elementary school, but the district has been lowered — through no fault of the local schools — according to criteria used by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC).
“It’s very disappointing,” said Monroe Board of Education President Brett Guido.
The district had planned on being approved this year for nearly half of the multi-million project that would have brought a new pre-kindergarten through fourth grade school building to relieve overcrowding in Monroe’s two schools.
Monroe officials were expecting good news earlier this month from OFCC officials but instead learned from them about a larger-than-anticipated number of other eligible Ohio school districts seeking similar funding have placed school tax issues on the May ballot.
Monroe officials had planned to put a bond tax issue on the November ballot — which OFCC rules require voter approval before about 50 percent of funding would be paid for by the state.
The result of the eligibility reshuffling has Monroe Schools remaining eligibility for state funding but not until 2019.
Jesse Catanzaro, director of operations for Monroe Schools, said “they (OFCC officials) moved the finish line on us.”
For residents in the growing Monroe school system it means they likely will not see any ballot tax issues seeking a rise in property taxes until November 2019.
The now, more likely scenario — if voters approve a yet-to-be determined amount of tax millage increase in 2019 — would be for a new school opening in November 2021 instead of fall 2020 as originally planned, said Catanzaro.
During Monday’s board meeting, members voted unanimously to make the new school’s grade configuration a pre-K to 4th grade building, should it be constructed.
Last year the board approved the new school’s location on the 29 acres that the district owns between Macready Avenue and Elm Street, which includes the campus of the current but aged and too small Monroe Primary School.
The district’s Primary building, constructed in 1954, was designed to house 339 students and currently has 470 students enrolled. The district’s 2-12 building was opened in 2004 and was designed for 1,883 students. There are currently 2,410 students attending the school.
“The planning for the new school is all done,” said Guido. “The need (for expansion) is still there and will now only become more dire.”
Board members said they are exploring various options to handle overcrowding including the possibility of constructing eight temporary classrooms in the junior high school’s gym or using portable classroom trailers on school grounds for additional classroom space.
Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 9:48 AM
MONROE — The growing Monroe School system will add a new leader next school year.
The Monroe school board voted unanimously Monday evening to hire a top official from one of Southwest Ohio’s most academically acclaimed school systems as its next superintendent.
They chose Kathy Demers, assistant superintendent for Hamilton County’s Wyoming Schools for the last half decade.
In a statement released by the board, members described the former teacher and principal as bringing with her “the leadership skills and knowledge required to enhance the educational quality of their school system.”
“Kathy Demers was chosen for her ability to create a positive culture of openness, trust and respect in dealing with students, staff, as well as, the school’s community so vital for growth. (She) is known as an inspirational leader, who is focused on building work relationships with: teachers, professional learning institutions, community members, and area businesses,” school board members said in the statement.
Wyoming Schools have consistently been rated among the top 10 academic performers among all Ohio public school districts.
Current Monroe Superintendent Phil Cagwin is retiring on July 31, and Demers will then take over leadership of the district.
Demers said, “I was looking for a district where I can devote my knowledge, skills and attitudes toward the growth of the organization while directly working with students, staff, administrators and community members both on a personal and professional level. Monroe Schools is the ideal complement for who I am as a school leader.”
Board President Brett Guido described Demers as “a no brainer for us.”
“Kathy quickly rose to the top early in the (hiring) process,” he said.
Demers was given a three-year contract and her first year’s salary is $120,000.
Cagwin led the 2,700-student district through the darkest financial days in its history, coming aboard first as an interim superintendent in 2012 when Monroe Schools were mired in debt and under state oversight as part of falling into a fiscal emergency status.
He has previously been superintendent of Talawanda Schools in Butler County.
Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 2:41 PM
Updated: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 4:40 PM
A Montgomery County Common Pleas Court judge denied a preliminary injunction sought by a Dayton resident who alleged an Ohio Open Meetings (OMA) Act violation because he was denied in his efforts to join a bus tour of Dayton Public Schools facilities.
Judge Richard Skelton ruled Monday in a 7-page decision that Dayton resident David Esrati did not meet the burden of proof about the bus tour containing substantive recommendations or discussion regarding potential closures of school buildings.
Esrati said he plans to continue the suit.
Skelton did write that the 20-member School Facilities Task Force formed to help Acting Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli was a public body — disagreeing with DPS and Dayton city attorneys.
“The court rejects the argument of DPS that the Task Force was only an advisory group for the superintendent and was not a ‘public body’ itself,” Skelton wrote, later adding: “Pretending that the Task Force, including three members of the Board, was only for the Board’s employee would allow a simple subterfuge to avoid the OMA.”
A Dayton Board of Education meeting that includes a potential vote on a school closing proposal is scheduled for Tuesday. An injunction could have stopped or delayed that vote.
“The burden is on the plaintiff to prove that such deliberative discussion occurred during the bus tour and was used by the Board (of Education) in proposing its formal action,” Skelton wrote. “The plaintiff did not produce the first witness who offered any proof that a deliberative or any other discussion was had on the bus tour at issue.”
Skelton wrote that the court “has no basis to find that plaintiff has shown he is likely to succeed on his claimed violation of the OMA at the trial on the merits.
Esrati said Skelton’s decision “makes no sense” and that he received legal advice that he should — and plans to — take the case to trial, currently scheduled for July 11.
“He said clearly they were a public body, and how I’m supposed to prove what they discussed or didn’t discuss is irrelevant because they’re not allowed to meet in private unless it’s for matters of executive session,” Esrati said, later adding: “There’s no way of me proving it because I wasn’t in the bus or in the school or anything else. And that’s a violation.”
Esrati filed the lawsuit without an attorney. He contends he was not allowed to attend a February bus tour of Dayton schools during which task force members went into schools until district attorneys advised them to cancel remaining stops.
On Thursday, Esrati questioned Lolli and also was cross-examined by DPS attorney Brian Wildermuth during the nearly 2½-hour, wide-ranging hearing.
Wildermuth did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Wildermuth, who has said the task force wasn’t a public body and isn’t subject to the open meetings laws, argued in a post-hearing brief that the group was not a decision-maker and didn’t reach any consensus or specific recommendations.
“Plaintiff had the burden of proof,” Wildermuth wrote. “He did not carry that burden.”
Esrati said the board’s actions are a big part of the district’s problem.
Published: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 11:00 AM
The Troy City Schools Board of Education will begin this week interviewing eight candidates, three already with the district, for the superintendent’s job.
Board President Doug Trostle said the board planned to interview four candidates each night Monday and Tuesday in executive sessions. After those interviews, the board will narrow candidates to its top three for final interviews the week of April 9.
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“We intend to finalize our selection and introduce our new superintendent by the end of April,” Trostle said.
Superintendent Eric Herman announced earlier this year he would retire at the end of July.
K12 Consultants was hired by the board to coordinate the superintendent search. The firm will be paid $17,900.
The firm compiled a search profile following February meetings with various groups including teachers/support staff, parents and the community. The profile identified the top characteristics named for a superintendent as strong interpersonal and public relations skills, effective at creating and implementing a district vision and ability and willingness to deal fairly with faculty, staff, students and parents.
The deadline for applications was March 9. Trostle said 16 applications were received.
The board met in an executive sessions Monday, March 12, with K12 Consultants to review the candidates and narrow the list.
The semi-finalists are:
- Shawn Blazer, assistant superintendent, Northeastern Local Schools, Springfield
- David Dilbone, principal, Troy Junior High School
- Scott Hunt, superintendent, Cardinal Local Schools, Middlefield, Ohio in Geauga County
- Jeremy Miller, assistant superintendent, Troy City Schools
- Michael Moore, director of curriculum, Troy City Schools
- Scott Nelson, former superintendent, Sylvania City Schools, near Toledo
- Jeff Patrick, superintendent Franklin Monroe Schools, Darke County
- Chris Piper, superintendent, Triad Local Schools, North Lewisburg
Information on the superintendent search, including the profile, is available on the district website at www.troy.k12.oh.us