Board considers additional attorneys, hears OFCC updates


By Amantha Garpiel

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TIPP CITY — The Tipp City Board of Education approved a change in insurance for the district, discussed retaining another law firm to assist with the school district’s legal issues, approved back pay for a teacher and received an update on the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) plan for the district’s facilities.

During the Tipp City Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, June 6, members of the board discussed the retainer of an additional law firm for legal services the district might need. The firm being discussed in Frost, Brown and Todd Attorneys. After some discussion it was moved by member Amber Drum to table the agenda item, her motion passed with an abstention from President Simon Patry.

While member Rick Mains expressed his support in retaining Frost, Brown and Todd Attorneys due to Aaron Moran’s experience and success working with the firm in the past, members Anne Zakkour and Theresa Dunaway raised concerns. Zakkour made note of the potential financial issues retaining another firm for the district could cause due to the current five year forecast from the treasurer. She and Dunaway also mentioned their personal concerns and those that have been voiced to them by community members for the “agenda” they found clearly outlined on the Frost, Brown and Todd Attorneys’ website

Dunaway noted she would prefer to look at an educational law firm and not a firm to dictate where she stands on social issues. She said a lot of the Tipp City community is conservative and Christian and do not buy into the “woke” platform and she does not want them to lose their voice, nor use their money to pay to retain the services of a law firm with an agenda that a large portion of the taxpayers might not agree with.

Despite concerns from board members, Moran maintained his support of Frost, Brown and Todd Attorneys.

“This law firm has been nothing by supportive of the school districts’ direction. They provide guidance when needed,” said Moran. “I’ve dealt with them through some sticky situations.”

The discussion will continue at the board’s next work session in July.

The board then heard from Moran regarding the OFCC facilities project and updates. The most recent dilemma is between a two or three building plans, including financial implications. The OFCC has determined they will provide approximately $30 million and recommends that the board and community move forward with a plan for two new academic buildings for the district. In determining which plan would work best for the district, a two building vs. three building plan, Moran mentioned the cost for the district differs by approximately $8 million between the two plans and less transitions between buildings would be beneficial to students’ education.

During the discussion, Patry said he and the board encourage the community to get involved in the plan by attending the community meetings for the project for their voices to be heard. The next community meeting is set for June 20.

In other business:

• Board members approved a change in insurance providers for the district. With this approval, the district is changing from USI to Southwest EPC.

• The board approved a contract correction which includes paying a Tipp City teacher, Traci Mader, $9,634 in back pay. The pay accrued due to a contact error in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

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