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Here’s what Middletown students did for National Student Walk Out today

Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2018 @ 12:39 PM

National Walk Out at Middletown High School

More than 1,200 Middletown High School students quietly watched a solemn ceremony this morning as students honored the 17 shooting victims from last month’s school massacre in Florida.

The ceremony, which was created and performed by students, was among many held around the area - and nation - as part the National Walk Out designed to both commemorate the tragic deaths of 17 students and staffers killed by a gun man in Parkland, Fla. and protest the growing threat of gun violence in America’s schools.

MORE: Ceremonies, protests planned for Butler County schools

On the gym were 17 students, each standing and holding an enlarged photo of one of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting victims. The Middletown students read a short bio on the dead student, then sat down on the court of the Wade E. Miller Arena.

When they were all done, the 17 students then laid down on the floor to symbolize the ending of the young lives at the hands of the gun man.

“It was all them (students). They planned this and they came up with how they wanted to honor the students that lost their lives so tragically,” said Middletown High School Principal Carmela Cotter.

Across Butler and Warren counties - and throughout the nation - similar scenes were repeated this morning.

Some high schools saw different ceremonies or demonstrations where students, with school officials’ permission, walked out on to school grounds to hold their events and protests.

At Warren County’s largest school system, Mason High School, students walked into a gym, many locking arms in solidarity.

“The students were respectful, organized, and motivated,” said Mason Schools Spokeswoman Tracey Carson.

“Students took a moment of silence to honor the victims, heard from a classmate who attended Sandy Hook Elementary at the time of the Newtown tragedy, posted post-its about why they walk, and linked arms together. As a district, we had extra law enforcement presence at all of our schools today, and were able to accommodate the students’ actions safely,” said Carson.

Stay with this news outlet for stories, photos and video about today’s events.

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Monroe Schools nabs leader from one of area’s most academically acclaimed districts

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 9:48 AM

Kathy Demers, who is currently an assistant superintendent with Wyoming Schools in Hamilton County, will take over the top job at Monroe Local Schools this summer. MICHAEL D. CLARK/STAFF
Kathy Demers, who is currently an assistant superintendent with Wyoming Schools in Hamilton County, will take over the top job at Monroe Local Schools this summer. MICHAEL D. CLARK/STAFF

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.

MORE: 5 things to know about Monroe Schools

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.

MORE: Monroe superintendent announces retirement

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.

MORE: Monroe Schools decides location for new building

He has previously been superintendent of Talawanda Schools in Butler County.

With the passage of a new tax levy in 2012, state education and auditor officials released Monroe from its state-ordered financial emergency in 2014 once the school system returned to solvency.

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Judge says Dayton schools task force public, but denies injunction

Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 2:41 PM
Updated: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 4:40 PM

            Members of a combined city-Dayton Public Schools task force studying school facilities tour Valerie Elementary School on Feb. 6. The tours ended before scheduled because of a legal challenge. SEAN CUDAHY/Staff
Members of a combined city-Dayton Public Schools task force studying school facilities tour Valerie Elementary School on Feb. 6. The tours ended before scheduled because of a legal challenge. SEAN CUDAHY/Staff

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.

RELATED: Judge to rule today on legal challenge to Dayton schools task force

“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.

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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.”

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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.

“This school board is not to be trusted by anyone at any time for anything, if this is the way they want to conduct business,” Esrati said.

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Troy narrows superintendent’s candidates list, sets interviews

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.

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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

Contact this contributing writer at

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Northeastern to close, consolidate schools if bond fails

Published: Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 9:44 AM
Updated: Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 6:06 PM

            Rolling Hills Elementary School. Bill Lackey/Staff
Rolling Hills Elementary School. Bill Lackey/Staff

The Northeastern Local School Board of Education approved a contingency plan to consolidate the district’s two high schools and close Rolling Hills Elementary School should voters in May again reject a $79 million bond issue for new schools.

The district is asking voters for a bond issue to build two new pre-k through 12th grade schools in the district, one on the Kenton Ridge High School side and the other on the Northeastern High School side. The state has offered to pay about $40 million for the schools, making the total cost of the project about $119 million.

RELATED: Northeastern bond issue for $117M new schools rejected

Having a backup plan is necessary, Northeastern Local Schools Superintendent John Kronour said.

“The district faces a number of upcoming facilities expenses to address problems in the aging school buildings, such as leaking roofs, poor air quality, heating and air conditioning regulation, plumbing problems, and other issues,” he said.

The contingency plan calls for closing Rolling Hills Elementary, using South Vienna and Northridge as preschool through fifth-grade elementary buildings, converting Kenton Ridge into a middle school for all sixth- through eighth-grade students and making Northeastern High School the only high school in the district.

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“By eliminating one building, the district will reduce necessary repairs in the future and be able to concentrate limited funds available for facilities upgrades toward the remaining four buildings,” Kronour said.

The Springfield News-Sun will update this article when more information is available.


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