BOE discusses potential executive session leaks


TIPP CITY — During the second half of the Tipp City Board of Education (BOE) work session, the board discussed the ongoing search for a superintendent and the importance of maintaining confidentiality of topics covered during executive sessions.

The board also continued its discussion of superintendent and treasurer goals and a pilot project for after school supervision of staff members’ children.

The topic of the ongoing superintendent search led to the discussion of the confidentiality of executive sessions when Board member Theresa Dunaway brought up her concerns of board members, or guests of executive sessions, leaking confidential information that is not to be shared outside of executive session. Her concern stems from the members of the board receiving two emails recently from citizens that contained specific information the board had discussed in a previous executive session meeting.

“If we cannot respect executive session and move forward with the superintendent search, I have a lot of feelings about how this is going to work. It needs to be very clear that board members have an ethical oath not to be discussing executive sessions,” said Dunaway.

“To draw inference and speculate that that (information) came from a leak and not just a rumor that can naturally occur in other circumstances and to come before the board and state it as a fact, in my opinion, is highly irresponsible and inappropriate,” said Board President Simon Patry, regarding Dunaway’s accusation a board member leaked information.

In Patry’s opinion, he noted there is a better way for a situation such as this to be handled, such as simply reminding board members of the rules of executive session, and if there is any information that explicitly indicates a board member violating executive session, it should be discussed in an executive session meeting of the board.

To help remedy this potential issue and to continuously remind board members of their obligation to maintain the integrity of executive sessions, Dunaway motions to require board members to recognize, in writing, their legal obligation to keep things said in executive sessions confidential. The motion passes with a 4-1 vote with Patry voting against the motion.

Superintendent Mark Stefanik’s goals for the remainder of the school year were approved following the work session on Monday evening. Stefanik’s list originally consisted of about six different goals to work on this school year. However, with his contract and the school year coming to an end, the board chose to narrow the list down to three goals to make achieving them before the end of the school year more attainable.

The board determined Treasurer Melanie Fox’s goals still need some reorganizing and clarification before the board feels comfortable approving them. However, Stefanik’s goals received approval.

The superintendent’s approved three goals include: to create a facilities process that will result in a bond proposal by facilitating the process of selecting an architect and creating a timeline for data gathering, community and staff input, renderings that outline options and the bond proposal creation; to facilitate the audit of technology systems and resources to that upgrades can be completed throughout the district to allow the technology to be assets to the education of students in the district; and to work with Fox to review the district’s budget and expenditures, by building and department, to create suggested budget cuts and a budget reduction recommendation for the BOE.

During the work session, the board heard from Dr. Lisa Tuttle-Huff regarding a potential pilot project memorandum of understanding between the Tipp City BOE and the Tipp City Education Association to begin a student supervision program for children of teachers and staff members.

Tuttle-Huff estimates, depending on staff participation, there are approximately 30 to 35 students may utilize the program as children of staff members and teachers. Currently, the idea is to host this after-school daycare at LT Ball Intermediate School and to have staff responsibility for watching the children rotate similarly to the way buildings rotate other duties like bus duty. Tuttle-Huff believes this program is potentially beneficial to the district due to the difficulty of finding affordable childcare.

On the topic, Board member Richard Mains noted teachers already have a lot to handle and giving them a little extra time to work rather than bringing their work home with them is not a big deal.

“These teachers deserve to have a little slack,” said Mains.

“I find it worthwhile, I’m willing to invest in our teachers because they invest in us. I am willing to invest in our classified staff because they invest in us. Same with our substitutes,” said Patry.

Patry stated his interested in looking further into this idea and how much a stipend for staff and teachers taking on this extra responsibility will cost the district if the project is approved.

The student supervision project is still being formed and will be recommended for action from the board at the next regular session meeting on Feb. 27.

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