Tipp City BOE discusses balances, policy


TIPP CITY — The Tipp City Board of Education discussed an outstanding balance with Reutschle Architects Inc. as well as the school district’s relationship with Tipp Pride Association during their regular session meeting Monday evening.

The board’s discussion of an apparent balance due to Reutschle Architects was added to the agenda by Theresa Dunaway. Dunaway had received an email from Reutschle regarding a past due balance. During the meeting Monday evening it was discovered that only Mark Stefanik, Simon Patry, Melanie Fox and Dunaway had received the email, excluding three other board members. Richard Mains, Anne Zakkour and Amber Drum were not included in the email Reutschle had sent to the other members of the board and district.

Before the board realized this discrepancy, Dunaway explained his balance had been settled by the previous board and legal counsel. The request to pay the balance was denied by the board and legal counsel in 2018 because the work the district was being charged for was done outside of their contract with Reutschle Architects Inc.

“To me, thank you Mr. Mains for bringing this up, there’s no board member on here that should be in the dark because an email was not forwarded to the entire group. That’s inexcusable, there’s no justification for that … We shouldn’t have been in the dark in the first place because it should be a routine function of sending it out to the entire board,” said Zakkour.

Due to part of the board being in the dark regarding Reutschle re-sending an invoice to the district, Drum moved to table the discussion until their November work session. The motion was seconded by Mains and passed with only one dissenting vote from Dunaway.

The second big topic of discussion during Monday’s meeting was also added to the agenda by Dunaway. Dunaway added a discussion of the districts relationship and contract with the Tipp Pride Association that has been fundraising for the renovation of the football stadium.

The purpose of adding Tipp Pride Association to the agenda was to gain a better understanding of the districts contract with Tipp Pride and to understand exactly what the district’s responsibilities are to the association and vice versa. Tipp Pride had previously obtained a loan for the renovations of the stadium including concession, bathroom and locker room areas. The principal loan is being paid for by donor agreements with Tipp Pride while the interest of the loan is being funded by the various small fundraisers the association has been hosting. The school district is not responsible in any way for the loan Tipp Pride received.

An issue of policy arose during the board’s discussion. Dunaway pointed out Tipp Pride has been allowed to fundraise on school property without providing the board with financial statements, in direct conflict with district policy.

“We’re not their partners, because they have never treated us like partners, so that really upsets me. When this all got started they were supposed to give us every month, we were supposed to put their balance on our agenda, just to be transparent with out community and that has never ever happened. I had to beg for the most recent financial statement that we all got from Mark in the weekly board update. I shouldn’t have to beg for financial statements. If we’re being transparent and we’re partners, then let’s treat each other respectfully,” said Dunaway. “I want to know what the district’s legal, fiduciary obligations are to this organization.”

Patry, on the other hand, feels that there seems to be a confusion in the relationship and a lack of information that gives a bad image. The board has a responsibility to the community to present financials and Patry believes that inviting Tipp Pride representatives to a public board meeting to present their financials to the board could help the issue of image for both parties.

A motion made by Drum and seconded by Patry to invite Tipp Pride to present their financials, knowing that the organization has no legal obligation to attend, was passed 3-2 vote, with Dunaway and Zakkour voting no. Zakkour voted against the motion because of her agreement with Mains’ comments during the meeting. Mains said he does not believe inviting Tipp Pride Association into a meeting to present their financials will help the association in any way and will take up more of the board’s time that they could dedicate to more pressing issues.

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