breaking news


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.

4 Montgomery County candidates ruled invalid; Dayton schools race set

Published: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 @ 11:25 AM
Updated: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 @ 4:47 PM


            Montgomery County Board of Elections officials ruled four candidates will not appear on the November ballot because of problems with their petitions. CHRIS STEWART/STAFF
Montgomery County Board of Elections officials ruled four candidates will not appear on the November ballot because of problems with their petitions. CHRIS STEWART/STAFF

The names of four Montgomery County residents who hoped to run for office will not appear on the Nov. 7 ballot.

The Board of Elections on Tuesday ruled invalid the petitions of Julia Caserta, Ben DeGroat, David Esrati and Donna M. Hill.

According to the board, three names were tossed due to an insufficient number of qualifying signatures: Caserta, who filed to run for a Harrison Twp. trustee position; DeGroat, who filed for German Twp. trustee; and Hill, who sought a Dayton School Board seat.

MORE: Miami County tosses out petitions for 19 candidates

David Esrati, a Dayton resident who has had petitions for different offices rejected in previous election cycles, was denied a spot on the ballot for the Montgomery County Educational Services Center board because he doesn’t reside in the center’s district.

At least 188 candidates requested petitions for the election heavy on municipal and school board offices, according to the Board of Elections.

Due to differences in municipal charters, candidates hoping to make it on the ballot in Kettering, Moraine and Riverside races have until 4 p.m. on Aug. 24 to file their petitions with the elections board.

MORE: Springboro teacher arrested on drug, child endangering charges

“We’ve just had four invalid at this point. That’s actually pretty low,” said Jan Kelly, Board of Elections director. “I think the candidates did a great job of filling out the petitions.”

Dayton School board race set

Eight candidates were certified to run for four seats on the Dayton School Board.

Joe Lacey is the only incumbent seeking re-election in November.

The other candidates are Mohamed Al-Hamandi, Paul Bradley, Ann Marie Gallin, William Harris Jr., Jocelyn Rhynard, Jo’el Jones and Karen Wick-Gagnet.

ELECTION COVERAGE

Our team of local reporters will have coverage of the key races and tax issues on the ballot over the next few months.

The ballot is full of local candidates running for mayor, city council, school board and township positions.

In early October, look for our online, interactive voters guide with information on hundreds of candidates and issues across the region.

The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 10. Early voting starts Oct. 10.

Flight blocked from landing in Indy due to VP visit sent to Dayton

Published: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 @ 11:29 AM
Updated: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 @ 1:26 PM


            Vice President Mike Pence
Vice President Mike Pence

A plane low on fuel traveling from Chicago to Indianapolis Friday was forced to land in Dayton since Vice President Mike Pence’s plane was on the runway there.

According to RTV6 in Indianapolis, the flight was in Indianapolis air space and was denied permission to land at Indianapolis International Airport.

Air traffic controllers said United Express flight 3633 could not land because Air Force Two was on the runway.

After 20 minutes of asking to land, the flight’s fuel level went too low and the pilots traveled more than 120 miles to Dayton International Airport to refuel and then fly back to Indianapolis.

Pence was in Indianapolis for a luncheon event.

School board races start in Springboro, Lebanon, Waynesville

Published: Friday, August 11, 2017 @ 3:19 PM


            Five candidates are seeking three seats on Springboro’s board of education in November.
Five candidates are seeking three seats on Springboro’s board of education in November.

School board incumbents in Springboro, Lebanon and Waynesville are facing re-election challenges in the Nov. 7 election.

In Springboro, political newcomers Theresa Schneider and Michelle Teska are challenging Dan Gudz, who was appointed earlier this year, and Charles Anderson and Dave Stuckey, who are seeking re-election.

RELATED: Feuding board appoints new member

“I’ve always helped other people. This is the first time running myself,” Schneider said Friday, citing work for Gov. John Kasich and other state and county level Republican candidates.

“I feel like the school board’s been in turmoil for a while,” she said. “I thought this would be a chance for me to do a service for the community.”

MORE: Lebanon picks new superintendent

In Lebanon, Art Hathaway and David Donovan are contesting the re-election of Ryan Patterson and Brian DeGennaro.

In the Wayne Local Schools, Darren Amburgy is challenging incumbents Dave Barton, Brad Conner and Danny McCloud.

MORE: Wayne board ends football coach contract

McCloud is seeking his fifth term on the Wayne Local Schools Board of Education.

MORE: Bomb threats back in Warren County schools

A resident of Waynesville for 60 of his 61 years, he said he continues to run for the office out of his attachment to the community and the school district.

“I love Waynesville, love the community, love students,” he said.

Two public safety levies to appear on Perry Twp. ballot

Published: Thursday, August 10, 2017 @ 6:01 PM


            Perry Twp. trustees Gerald Peters, left, and Sheila Stanifer both voted to place new continuous police and fire/EMS levies on the November ballot. The township trustees President Dale Seim was absent. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF
            Chris Stewart
Perry Twp. trustees Gerald Peters, left, and Sheila Stanifer both voted to place new continuous police and fire/EMS levies on the November ballot. The township trustees President Dale Seim was absent. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF(Chris Stewart)

Voters in Perry Twp. will see two public safety levies on the ballot in November.

Trustees approved the language for a 1.5-mill police levy and another 1.5-mill fire and emergency medical services levy during a special meeting last week, but some residents objected to police issues.

Both are continuous and would each cost the owner of $100,000 house $52.50 more a year, or $105 if voters approve both issues, according to the Montgomery County Auditor’s Office.

Perry Twp. police Chief Mike Rinehart said department resources have been stagnant since 2003, the last time a police levy passed following one in 1998. Both of those would continue.

RELATED: Human services levy renewal headed to Montgomery County ballot

The effective rates of the current assessments have decreased over the years, according to the auditor’s office. Inflation on top of that has made the roughly $500,000 police budget not stretch as far as it did 14 years ago, Rinehart said.

Police staffing at the department has fluctuated but is now down to a bare-bones force as rising costs for fuel, vehicles, equipment and dispatch services – and now increased state-mandated training — chiseled away at funds that could pay officers. Those who are hired often “springboard” to better-paying jobs at neighboring departments, he said.

The department currently has three full-time positions, including the chief’s, and a handful of part time officers typically working one shift a week. Rinehart said passage of the levy would allow the department five or six full-time positions and at least six dedicated part-timers.

Some residents, however, complain that the department has enough and that a year-to-year carryover in police funds — now at more than $180,000 — shows that no tax hike is required for the agency that serves roughly 4,000 township residents.

RELATED: Sinclair Community College will seek renewal of $27M levy

“I don’t know how you justify having a police levy when you carry that balance over for the last three years for a small township,” said resident Chuck Sweet.

Rinehart said it would be possible to achieve the staffing level he envisions using the carryover, but it wouldn’t be sustainable, he said.

“I’m looking multiple years into the future,” Rinehart said. “The last thing in the world I want to see happen is we bring people on … then two years down the road, three years down the road, we have to cut down and tell people we can’t have five full-timers and take jobs away from people.”

Township trustees Gerald Peters and Sheila Stanifer both voted to place the levies on the ballot. Trustees President Dale Seim was absent.

Stanifer said costs are also rising to keep the 36-square-mile township covered by fire protection and emergency medical services. The township already shortened a contract from four years to two with the Brookville Fire Department due to funding uncertainty, she said.

RELATED: City proposes new tax for more emergency services funding

“We’re trying to hang on to what we have and be proactive about the future,” she said.

Perry Twp. voters last approved a fire/EMS levy in 2013. The Brookville Fire Department serves roughly the northern part of the township in western Montgomery County while the southern half is served by the New Lebanon Fire Department.

An owner-occupant of a $100,000 home in Perry Twp. currently pays $82 a year for the 2013 fire/EMS levy and $152 a year for the police levies, according to the auditor’s office.

The deadline for voter registration deadline is Oct. 10 for the Nov. 7 election.