Tipp BOE approves Miami County Prosecutor investigation of censure letter


TIPP CITY — The Tipp City Board of Education approved an investigation of a censure document through the Miami County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO) at Monday’s meeting.

The action was approved in a 3-2 vote with board members Joellen Heatherly and Corine Doll voting against the action. The censure document, which was introduced at the June 28 board meeting by Simon Patry, highlighted that members of the board of education had allegedly “failed to abide by the laws of the State of Ohio, the Board of Education’s policies, by-laws, and its adopted code of ethics and as a result the Board of Education has failed to perform as the Tipp City Exempted Village School District Deserves.”

The document failed in a 2-3 vote, with Doll and Board President Theresa Dunaway and vice president Anne Zakkour voting against the document.

The investigation comes as a result of a response email from board attorney Helen Carroll, Roetzel & Andress, recommending that the board seek legal opinion from the Miami County Prosecutor. In the email read by Zakkour, Carroll stated that in her opinion, the resolution of censure document included “conclusory statements and broadly stated accusations reflecting Mr. Patry’s personal perspective related to his views regarding alleged improprieties by fellow board members.”

Carroll went on to state in the email that she could not determine the factual basis of the accusations of violations of board policies or Ohio law in the censure document without an investigation.

The initial censure document was created in response to the Tipp City Education Association’s request to censure comments of Zakkour, and on board agreement was adjusted to incorporate the board as a whole and all of its members sharing in the blame of what was outlined by the TCEA to be censured.

The discussion regarding the action to approve the investigation involved back-and-forth between several board members, mostly around authorizing the MCPO to speak to individual board members and review executive session material and confidential information. Patry said that the large amount of information relevant to the claims in the censure document is either privileged or part of a confidential executive session; Zakkour went item by item in the original censure document, asserting that the majority of points occurred outside of executive session, in public view at meetings.

“I feel that this is owed to the community, and I feel the Miami County Prosecutor’s Office — I certainly hope and believe they would give an objective, unbiased review. I believe that keeping it contained to the statements in this document are important to stay focused and I’m very in favor. I feel I have nothing to hide. I want it out. I want it all out,” Zakkour said.

Other action items were approved at Monday’s meeting, including:

• The monthly financial report in a 4-0-1 vote, with Patry abstaining;

• Resident educator mentors for the 2021-2022 school year;

• After-school supervisors for the 2021-2022 school year;

• Substitute teachers, aides and nurses for the 2021-2022 school year;

• The resignation of Tippecanoe Middle School gifted intervention specialist Cassandra Schoch;

• The resignations of classified staff members Ashley Hartman, Amy Joseph and Lauren Vonderheide;

• The hiring of district case manager Rachel Mahoney;

• The hiring of classified staff members Morgan Burton, Lynda Elicker, Maria Lozoya, Patrick Poor, Angela King and Amy Joseph; and

• Employing several supplemental positions for the 2021-2022 school year in a 4-1 vote, with Dunaway voting against the motion.

The Tipp City Board of Education will hold a work session at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14. The next regular board meeting will be held Monday, Sept. 27 at 6 p.m.

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