Tipp BOE pushes for investigation of alleged executive session violation


By Blythe Alspaugh

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TIPP CITY — A discussion item regarding an update on the Ohio Sunshine Law was removed from the agenda at the Tipp City School Board’s work session held Monday.

Board member Theresa Dunaway motioned to remove the item from the agenda after stating that the board had not voted on a developmental discussion at the previous meeting, but to authorize Superintendent Mark Stefanik to contact the school board’s attorneys for the purpose of investigating an alleged violation of the executive session that had been made by Dunaway. The agenda item for Monday’s work session would have an update from the board’s attorneys, Roetzel & Andress, on Ohio Sunshine Laws and more specifically, improper uses of executive session.

“This is not what we asked for, and it’s a waste of taxpayer money,” Dunaway said. “I very specifically asked for an investigation because we voted in executive session. We voted in executive session, and that is what I want investigated. It has nothing to do with sunshine law.”

Stefanik clarified that he had added the item to the agenda so that the board’s attorneys could come in, give an overview of Ohio Sunshine Laws, and have a question and answer period with the board to answer any specific questions they may have. Board President Simon Patry said that removing the item would limit the board’s understanding and knowledge overall; Dunaway responded by pointing out that many board members have already attended Ohio School Board Association trainings that cover topics like sunshine laws.

“This is an insult to my time. I take time away from my family to attend (these sessions), that’s what we all do. If someone has a question they can go online, they can do a video,” Dunaway said.

Additionally, Anne Zakkour made a motion to add an action item on the agenda, authorizing Stefanik to hire Roetzel & Andress to investigate the alleged violation of executive session in a June 13, 2022 work session, and to utilize the Miami County Prosecutor’s Office as counsel. The item was added and was later approved in a unanimous vote.

The school board also voted on the following items during the meeting:

• Thomas Hobbs was hired for the director of technology position in a unanimous vote;

• Certified staff member John Reedy and classified staff members Laura Kraus, Jamie Pearson, Jeff Pence and Jack Weiss were hired in a unanimous vote;

• The mental health services contract with Nexus-New Creations for the 2022-2023 school year failed in a 2-2 vote with Zakkour and Amber Drum voting against the motion; and

• The 2022-2023 school police agreement to provide police services to Tipp City Schools was unanimously approved.

The next meeting of the Tipp City Board of Education will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, July 25.

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