Springboro school board softens rhetoric in internal dispute

Published: Monday, June 19, 2017 @ 4:11 PM


            Springboro School Board President Dave Stuckey pulled back on statements he made about Board Member Lisa Babb during a meeting . Her actions were “neither unlawful or unethical” Stuckey read from a statement at a recent meeting as he referred to Babb’s role with a parent group seeking board action on several issues. LAWRENCE BUDD/STAFF
            Lawrence Budd
Springboro School Board President Dave Stuckey pulled back on statements he made about Board Member Lisa Babb during a meeting . Her actions were “neither unlawful or unethical” Stuckey read from a statement at a recent meeting as he referred to Babb’s role with a parent group seeking board action on several issues. LAWRENCE BUDD/STAFF(Lawrence Budd)

Before choosing a new member, the Springboro school board clarified statements suggesting one member “overstepped” ethics laws and board conduct rules through her involvement on an issue that triggered another member’s resignation.

Board President Dave Stuckey read a statement at the June 8 board meeting referring to a May 24 statement he made criticizing Board Member Lisa Babb for “colluding” with a parents group.

RELATED: Parents group pressing Springboro school board

“At our last meeting, the board issued a statement regarding the actions of Mrs. Babb pertaining to a parent letter about communication in the district,” Stuckey said in the statement.

“While the board maintains its disagreement with Mrs. Babb’s approach to this issue, it is important to note that her involvement was neither unlawful or unethical,” he continued.

“While there are still issues that we need to address regarding the way we operate collectively, we are committed to working through those issues internally going forward,” Stuckey concluded the statement.

Last week, the board announced it would appoint Dan Gudz to replace Dr. Darin Lunt, who resigned citing stress related to the disagreement over Babb’s role in the letter and petition bearing 130 signatures from district residents.

Despite the dispute, Gudz said the board would be working together as it prepared for a district vote on a substitute levy and the November election, when he would run on a platform with Stuckey and Board Member Charles Anderson.

RELATED: Springboro school board announces board appointment

Gudz is to be appointed in a meeting to begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the junior high library.

At the June 8 meeting, Stuckey also noted Lunt’s resignation followed the resignation of Ron Malone who ran with him and Anderson four years ago on a ticket promising to end an era of division and publicity of the board for discussions of controversial issues, rather than the district’s excellence.

RELATED: Candidates pledge to end division in school district

“We have to replace the replacement,” Stuckey said.

Lunt, an orthodontist, left the board, after advising the other members he would not be running for election in November and was weighing resignation due to threats against his family and business. Malone left last year, citing stress sitting on the board.

At the May 24 meeting, the board also criticized former Communication Director Karen Lane DeRosa’s role in the petition and letter, which claimed there were communication and special education issues in the district.

DeRosa countered with claims the board met illegally before the May 24 meeting to press for Babb’s resignation and violated the law by provided copies of an email from Babb to the group.

RELATED: Former employee accuses Springboro school board of illegal meeting, law violation

In addition to the statement, Babb and Board Member Jamie Belanger commented at the June 8 meeting on the dispute and Lunt’s departure.

Babb expressed disappointment at Lunt’s resignation and hope the board would work together.

“The last board meeting wasn’t good for anybody,” she said.

Belanger said Lunt’s resignation and the events leading to it were a “shame,” but said the district had already taken steps to improve special education at Clearcreek Elementary School.

Belanger also said Superintendent Dan Schroer had sent a letter to parents, offering them individual meetings on their concerns.

“I wanted to email all of you to share that we received your letter and are listening. Today, I reach out to you in the event you would like to have an additional conversation with me about these issues,” Schroer said in the June 6 email.

So far, the district has received three responses, one from DeRosa and her husband interested in setting up a meeting to discuss their concerns, according to the district’s response to a public records request.

Schroer added a new communications director, Scott Marshall, would be charged with making any needed improvements in district communications.

Election 2017: Technology, test scores, focus of Trotwood School board candidates

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 1:21 PM
Updated: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 1:21 PM

Trotwood Schools
Staff Writer
Trotwood Schools(Staff Writer)

Three Trotwood-Madison School Board members are running in the November election along with two others to fill three seats on the board.

Incumbents Denise Moore, Myra Bozeman and Deborah Daniel are running again. Other candidates include Toni Perry Gillispie and Norman Scearce.

We asked all five candidates what their priorities would be if elected. Here’s a look at some of their responses:

Voters guide: Your best local resource for Election 2017

Find information on races and candidates you care about, by using your location or browsing information on dozens of races and hundreds of candidates.

Q: What are the 3 biggest challenges facing the school district? How would you deal with them?

Myra K. Bozeman: 1. Figuring out the actual problems in the district: Our district has room for improvement. Examining the data and developing a plan to take the district in the right direction can be difficult based on the number of problems that could potentially hinder student learning.

2. Low standardized test scores: Students are meeting their growth goals but are not meeting the required achievement levels.

3. Poverty: Trotwood has a large percentage of students who live in poverty. Poverty is linked to reduced academic achievement. Trotwood needs to continue to examine their data to determine where the underlying problems are hiding. We can aid our students in being successful and reach both growth and achievement levels on the standardized tests, by increasing intervention strategies for the 4-12 grades. The district has provided an increased number of interventions for the Early Learning Center through the 3rd grade. Based on these changes, the district has seen considerable progress.

Myra Bozeman, candidate Trotwood School Board 2017(Staff Writer)

Deborah L. Daniel: Two main issues facing the T-M City School district are academic performance and student mobility. Both issues are interlinked, as the fluidity of families in and out of the district impacts the overall learning environment in our classrooms. Research indicates that stable and consistent school settings support higher achievement levels. When families move often, especially during the school year, it disrupts the learning progression of students with access to and mastery of the Ohio Learning Standards.

Toni Perry Gillispie: The three biggest challenges facing the school district are technology, transportation and teachers. These three issues are not just a problem for Trotwood, but all school districts.

First, technology must be in the classroom with trained teachers on the best technology for the classroom of today. We need to seek out the best practices for technology use and training (for parents as well).

Toni Perry Gillispie, candidate Trotwood School Board 2017(Staff Writer)

Second, the issue of finding great drivers who deliver our students to and from the district must be addressed. The pipeline for driver recruitment, training and retention can only be helped by partnerships and the establishment of programs throughout the community. Finally, our teachers are the face of the district. They are the ones who are social workers, trainers and sometimes the parent and role model for students. We have to build a better relationship with the teachers the board and the city.

Teacher retention must be analyzed and addressed. We need and want the best to be in this role in Trotwood. We need to strengthen our relationship with Teach for America, University of Dayton Urban Teachers Institute and other colleges/universities who produce the teachers.. Overall, my leadership and experience will enhance what is already happening and what I can help bring to the district in the future.

Denise Moore, candidate Trotwood School Board 2017(Staff Writer)

Denise Moore: Testing remains another huge challenge that school districts face. We now find our teachers teaching to the ever changing tests that are handed down by the state. This has created many issues with student deficiencies in core content areas. Our students now have less time for learning new subject matter given the enormous amount of time spent on testing and test prep.

Additionally, with the focus on reading and math scores, our students lose history, world languages, exploratory classes, the arts, and other programs. Parent engagement is critical to the overall success of children. When parents, families, are involved with schools, all children benefit. A lack of parent engagement helps foster failing schools. Consequently, leading to the question of who is at fault (teachers or parents).

Research regarding the effects of family involvement on educational outcomes has shown that parent involvement makes a difference in children’s academic achievement. School funding means less funding means smaller staffs, fewer resources and a lower number of services for students.

Norman Scearce, candidate Trotwood School Board 2017(Staff Writer)

Norman Scearce: The district only offers part time preschool. I would address this proposing the board make the necessary sacrifices to offer all day preschool. Kindergarten age restrictions. I would address this by proposing the district current policy be amended to allow for children who’s birthday falls within 60 days of a schools start date be allowed early enrollment with needing the The gifted evaluation.

Q: What makes you qualified to be on the school board and gives you an advantage over other candidates?

Myra K. Bozeman: I was appointed to the Trotwood Madison School Board in August 2017. Out of six applicants, five people were interviewed and I was chosen unanimously. Since I am currently on the school board, I have an advantage over the other two candidates who are not incumbents.

Currently, I am fully engaged on the policy and finance committees and I am slated to complete several training sessions that will aid me in doing the best job for the district. I am a T-M graduate and have been a professor at Sinclair College for the past 20+ years.

I have an understanding of curriculum and educational policy. My parents are still residents of Trotwood. My oldest son is a graduate of Trotwood and is currently a senior at the University of Cincinnati. My youngest son attends Trotwood-Madison middle school. I am married and have been a homeowner in Trotwood for the past 24 years. Not only do I have the experience and educational backing to do the job, I am fully vested in the Trotwood community.

Deborah Daniel, candidate Trotwood School Board 2017(Staff Writer)

Deborah L. Daniel: I have been living in the Trotwood community over 50 years now. I am the current vice president of Trotwood-Madison School Board. I graduated from T-M along with my brothers and my two sons. My sons have both graduated from college and are current teachers.

As a current TMBOE member, my role of influence for our students is to advocate for the appropriate standards and academic testing. This includes advocating for the overall mental, academic, social, emotional, and physical developmental needs of our students. My job of being an active TMBOE member is very important to me and something I want to continue.

Toni Perry Gillispie: I am qualified to be on the board of education because: 1. I have experience as a listener and a thinker. My previous roles as community volunteer on boards and actual work experience in a public school system has given me the ability to make sound decisions that will benefit the families (students).

2. I have previously worked on the policy and financial committees of a public school system. This knowledge will help me as I learn and progress with the Trotwood district. The board establishes policy and this is one of my strengths.

3. I am a stakeholder in Trotwood. I own a home in Trotwood and want the district (students) to advance and be an asset to the city. 4. I am trained in community economic development. I have worked with the community and for the community for 20 years.

Denise Moore: What makes me qualified to be on the board and give me the advantage over other candidates is that I am able to work with my peers to establish a clear vision and goals for our district. I am also very vocal regarding the protections and provisions of our children.

I am a strong leader and believe in accountability for the board, superintendent, administrators, teachers, and staff. My experience as an incumbent, community advocate, marketing executive and previous business owner, has afforded me the skill sets and opportunity to be able to measure and assess data, communicate information clearly, understand budgets, assess external opportunities for our district, design/create solution based initiatives, and advocate at the local, state and national level for public education for the success of our students.

Norman Scearce: I am currently engaged in the life of the schools in a way the current board members are not. I represent the vast majority of young parents with children in the district.

Springboro staff recommends rejection of Easton Farm development

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 5:09 PM


            Residents wait to speak during a meeting on plans to develop the historic Easton Farm in Springboro.
Residents wait to speak during a meeting on plans to develop the historic Easton Farm in Springboro.

The Springboro Planning Commission is scheduled Wednesday to consider rezoning and approval of a plan by HP Acquisitions for 86.7 acres of the Easton Farm, a 101-acre property at 605 N. Main St., Ohio 741 in Springboro.

Staff is recommending denial of the rezoning and the plan.

The staff recommendation notes “the proposed residential development densities exceed those identified in the city’s land use plan and the proposed development is not consistent with development patterns of this portion of the community, specifically the relationship of proposed higher density multi-family residential to existing lower density residential neighborhoods.”

RELATED: Planners, developer to meet on Easton farm development plan

The new plan reduced the number of residences from 467 to 463, and the number that would be for multiple families from 360 to 356.

The Blue Ash-based developer proposes a mix of commercial, single-family and multi-family residential development.

Ted and Becky Hall would continue to live on 16.1 acres on the west side of the property.

RELATED: Springboro planners unready to approve Easton Farm development

The developer was sent back to the drawing board on Jan. 11, March 8 and May 10 by the commission.

MORE: Springboro central intersection reconstruction begins

The commission meets at 6 p.m. at city hall, 320 W. Central Ave. in Springboro.

Commissioners set to name acting Montgomery County court clerk

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 3:16 PM

Montgomery County Commissioners are expected to appoint Connie Villelli acting Montgomery County Clerk of Courts. Villelli said she is not seeking the job permanently. The county’s Democratic central committee has a month to name a replacement. SUBMITTED
Montgomery County Commissioners are expected to appoint Connie Villelli acting Montgomery County Clerk of Courts. Villelli said she is not seeking the job permanently. The county’s Democratic central committee has a month to name a replacement. SUBMITTED

Montgomery County Commissioners are expected to appoint Connie Villelli acting Montgomery County Clerk of Courts when they meet Tuesday to accept the resignation of Greg Brush, an elected Democrat. Villelli is currently director of compliance and special projects in the clerk’s office.

RELATED: Longtime county court clerk Greg Brush to retire

As acting clerk, Villelli will serve for up to 30 days until the vacancy is filled by the Montgomery County Democratic Party’s central committee.

Villelli, 62, of Englewood said her time as clerk will be solely transitional.

“It’s temporary just to hold down the fort,” Villelli said. “I have no interest in pursuing an elected position, so I’m not in the mix. I think that’s why Greg (Brush) recommended me to the county commissioners.”

MORE: Sinclair to buy Montgomery Co. Democratic Party headquarters

Brush is retiring to take a new job which he won’t reveal until he starts it on Nov. 1, he said earlier this month. He was re-elected in 2016 to a term that runs through 2020.

Montgomery County Democratic Party Chairman Mark Owens said people have time to reach out to the party and express interest in the permanent clerk’s position before the central committee convenes in mid-November to select a replacement. An election would be held in November 2018 to fill the final two years of Brush’s term.

The clerk oversees a budget of about $7 million and a staff of 92 employees. The office is responsible for receiving, docketing, indexing, certifying and preserving court pleadings, orders and other legal documents, including auto titles.

MORE: County courts clerk elected to head state group

Villelli, who also served as the Clerk of Courts chief deputy, has been with the office for 12 years. Prior to that she managed Montgomery County Common Pleas Court processes for 25 years.

Brush’s annual salary was $111,000. Villelli was paid $77,418 in 2016, according to county records.

TRENDING: Dayton competes with 237 others for Amazon’s HQ2

The courts and public will see little change in the operation of the office during the time Villelli is acting clerk, she said.

“We have an extremely talented management team that’s very good at handling the day-to-day operations,” she said. “We don’t think there will be issues we have to address. We have to have someone who can legally sign auto titles and legally sign authenticated judgments, so that will be my signature during this interim period.”

7 candidates seek 2 seats in crowded Washington Twp. trustees race

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 4:56 PM
Updated: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 4:56 PM

Voting stickers are seen at the Ohio Union during the U.S. presidential election at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan
Associated Press
Voting stickers are seen at the Ohio Union during the U.S. presidential election at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan(Associated Press)

An open seat on the Washington Twp. Board of Trustees has created a crowded field for this November’s election.

Trustee Scott Paulson is running for re-election and six others have jumped in the race. Trustee Joyce Young is not running for re-election.

All of the candidates answered questions for our online voters guide at vote.daytondailynews.com. Here’s a look at some of their responses:

Scott Colwell

Experience: I’ve been involved with local politics for over 10 years. From being a very active member of the Washington Township Forever, to spearheading sensible rezoning.such as SocialROWCPR.com Professionally, I earn my living as a program manager, where managing cost and customer satisfaction are my priorities.

David A. Douglas

Experience: I retired from Washington Township after 30 years of service. During my career, I worked in the Road / Public Works Department; Planning & Zoning Office and was also a volunteer fire fighter. I also received the prestigious AICP Certified Planner designation from the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Brian Feldmeyer

Experience: I have been a resident of Washington Twp. for 35 years. I have worked locally and owned a successful business for a number of those years and currently work with individuals and businesses as an independent insurance agent. I volunteered as a youth coach for 20 years. I served as the President of the Centerville Quarterback Club for two years. I currently serve on the board of the South Community YMCA. I understand the concerns and priorities of the residents.

Katie Levens

Experience: Miami Twp. Administrative Assistant 1996-2000: Prepared resolutions, agendas, board packets, correspondences and budgets for the Township Administrator and Board of Trustees. GDRTA Security & Facilities Supervisor 2000-2006: Managed $2.9-million budget, contract specialist for security and janitorial services, maintained contracts and relations with law enforcement and regional emergency management. Medway Technology, Inc: Vice President 2009-present; defense contractor.

Voters guide: Your best local resource for Election 2017

Find information on races and candidates you care about, by using your location or browsing information on dozens of races and hundreds of candidates.

Sharon Lowry

Experience: Assistant Superintendent (Retired) of Great Oaks JVS. Responsibilities include: Operations, HR, Employee Benefits, Contracts w Vendors. Staff liaison to Board of Education Members; My husband and I are small business owners since 1981. Understand the needs and challenges of small business.

Katie Levens, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)

Matt Lynch

Experience: I’m not a politician. I’m simply fed up with our current Trustees choosing out-of-town developers over those in our community who want to ensure that Washington Township remains a great place to live, work and raise a family. And as a husband and father to four children who grew up here and attended Alter High School I believe we owe it to them to preserve our community. As Managing partner of a consulting firm, with experience as a CEO, CFO, I can solve the township budget issues

Scott R. Paulson

Experience: Washington Township Trustee - 8 Years Owner, Advanced Engineering Solutions, Inc. 21 Years

Education: BS Mechanical Engineering (UD) Master Business Administration (UD)

Q: What are the biggest problems facing the community? What do you propose doing to tackle these challenges?

Scott Colwell: I believe the biggest problem in our community is managing the growth. I am in support of development, provided it does not damage the investments made by the citizens that currently call Washington Twp. and Centerville home. In 2004, the city of Centerville and Washington Twp. co funded “Create the Vision”. It was a 2 year study where over 800 suggestions were gathered from citizens, business owners, and area leaders. The outcome was a series of development recommendations for the city and township on areas such as land use, economic development, and Parks and recreation. I believe we need to be proactive, and revisit those recommendations.

Scott Paulson, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)

David A. Douglas: The city of Centerville - Washington Twp. community is a tremendous place to live and work. The township has seen reduced income from state revenue sharing for several years. We need to find smarter and more creative ways to get the most out of the tax dollars that are spent. Organizationally we are also faced with imminent retirements of key positions. I recommend an organizational restructuring that includes replacing key positions with even more qualified personnel that is capable of getting the most out of the township’s expenditures. These positions would also work together to identify local, state and federal projects that the township can partner to help improve the quality of services and more importantly lower costs. For instance the township spends millions of dollars a year on infrastructure but the township has not had a licensed professional engineer PE / surveyor on staff for 12 years. The hiring of a PE could eliminate cost overruns, project delays and costly legal battles the township has experienced in recent years.

David Doulas, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)

Brian Feldmeyer: The biggest problem is trustees that do not listen to the community. Their failure to address the budget has put them in a place where they make poor decisions that hurt the residents of Washington Twp. Rather than looking for solutions and trying to do things more efficiently, they look for additional revenue with additional or increased taxes with no regard for the community. One of the primary sources of new tax revenue is outside investors. Unfortunately, many times they require zoning to be changed or disregarded for their projects and this harms Washington Twp. in many ways. I would first look to see if there were unnecessary expenses that could be eliminated or reduced. I would then look to see if there were more efficient ways of doing things, rather than continuing to do things the same way that they have been done for years. Once we outlined our options, I would make sure that what was chosen did not harm current residents.

Brian Feldmeyer, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)

Katie Levens: Our number one priority is to maintain our roads and bridges. Our township should continue to work with Montgomery County and the state of Ohio to aggressively secure funding where possible, but the bottom line is that we need to work within our current budget limitations and neighborhood streets currently scheduled for repair or resurfacing need to stay on schedule. We must maintain our infrastructure investment to avoid major rebuild/replacement costs in the future.

Matt Lynch, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)

Sharon Lowry: One of the biggest challenges facing the community is utilizing our tax dollars to meet the needs of the citizens. We need to fund the Fire department, Staff the Sheriff’s Office, recreation center, roads, maintenance, and other departments. Since the Township cannot ask for an income tax, we must utilize our dollars efficiently and effectively. We need to research and come up with innovative ways to maintain the essential services to our citizens. Collaboration with the city and county is necessary to analyze reduction of costs and efficient use of our limited funds.

Sharon Lowry, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)

Matt Lynch: Trustees who are completely out of touch with the community they were elected to serve. Follow the money - the township had $33,084,026 in reserves at the end of 2016. The current 5 year plan reduces reserves to $15,111,969 the end of 2021. This means the trustees approved a budget that spends almost $18 Million more than we all pay in taxes over the next five years. To make up of this breach of their fiduciary duty to you the taxpayer, they will do anything to raise money, including lowering zoning standards to allow developers to do anything they want as long as it generates new tax revenue. They raised taxes twice in 2 years. This week, they voted 3-0 to override the zoning commissions unanimous vote to allow the takeover of Hithergreen violating long-standing zoning regulations. When elected, I will put an immediate stop to zoning changes negatively impacting existing residents. I will reduce spending and find ways to lower local taxes through more efficient government.

Scott Colwell, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)
Scott R. Paulson: Washington Twp. is on a wonderful growth path. With sound leadership in this community, we have planned well for our future and have wonderful opportunities for growth. As the community expands, this growth must be managed and difficult decisions made as to how to facilitate growth in building, recreation and maintain existing infrastructure and programs. Sound leadership with an experienced track record of managing growth is critical to success. With sound business principles and a community minded approach to sustainable growth, I will continue to guide the growth of this community. I will, as I have in the past, challenged decisions, reduced expenditures and invest in worthwhile projects for our community. I believe that the best way to sustain success and deal with challenges is to have good honest debate and make decisions that benefit the most members of our community.