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Published: Monday, September 18, 2017 @ 5:09 PM
Updated: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 11:09 AM
MIDDLETOWN — A Middletown Schools special education classroom aide is being investigated by the school system for allegedly using a racist slur in a Facebook comment, this news organization has exclusively learned.
A Middletown Board of Education member said the employee, Rebecca E. Montgomery at Miller Ridge Elementary, has been the source of “multiple complaints” regarding the online posting.
A recent Facebook comment by school board member Michelle Novak - in response to other Facebook comments regarding the alleged posting of a variation of an African-American slur by the school employee - stated: “The school has been notified through multiple complaints and it is now being investigated by our human resources department.”
“I commend the community for being so proactive in reporting these matters. It is of the utmost importance that we have a safe and respectful environment within our schools,” Novak wrote.
The alleged Facebook post from Montgomery is in a comments section in response to a photo of an unidentified, young African-American girl. The post referenced an African-American slur with the final five letters replaced with asterisks.
The post also includes an emoji face shedding tears from laughing.
Montgomery started as a “substitute aide” with the school system in 2011 and is now a classroom “paraprofessional” or teachers aide, according to district officials.
Montgomery was not a work Monday and unavailable to comment.
Middletown schools spokesperson Destini Burns said “we are currently investigating” the allegations, and Montgomery is on paid administrative leave pending the results of the investigation.
Burns issued a statement from district officials saying: “Middletown School district embraces its diverse population of students and staff. We champion a safe and supportive environment that appreciates and celebrates the contributions and assets of a diverse learning community.”
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
Published: Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 9:44 AM
Updated: Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 6:06 PM
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.
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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