CENTERBURG — Emotions ran high during the public participation portion of the June meeting of the Centerburg Board of Education. Several parents launched personal attacks and railed against the board for canceling graduation exercises, and others spoke in support of the board. Three graduates talked about how they believe the situation has adversely affected them, and thanked the community and parents for their support.
Board member Ron Ross and board vice president Roger Clark, speaking as private individuals, addressed the audience to express their personal anguish over the decision and to explain why the board acted as it did. Both said the main concern now should be to pull the community together and to preserve the integrity of the school district. Board member Leroy Bumpus was shouted down as he tried to answer community questions by referencing the Sunshine Law and the student handbook. He also said students in the Centerburg school system need to know that cheating is not all right and that it will not be tolerated.
High school principal John Morgan said he supported the board’s decision although the situation “ripped my heart out as well.” He clarified some misconceptions as to the number of students involved in the cheating and the erroneous assumption that he intends to resign.
Mike Vargo, high school social studies teacher, said he had suspected the cheating for some time, but lacked proof and specifics. He said he spoke to his classes about “something going on” and offered them the opportunity to be honest about it. Vargo also said there was no concrete evidence to substantiate the suspicion until this past week and said the board was informed as soon as evidence was obtained.
“What’s done is done,” he said, ‘but what’s important is how we handle it from now on. We all need to work together.”
Moving to the business portion of the meeting, the board granted the retirement request of second-grade teacher Sara Maxwell, effective at the end of the 2008-09 school year, and accepted letters of resignation from Matthew Bradley as assistant basketball coach, retroactive to May 14, and from cafeteria worker Carolyn Wilson, retroactive to May 29. The board also approved a continuing contract for Marcia Lawless; issued a number of extra-service and supplemental contracts; hired Karen Fannin as a cook for the 2009-10 school year; and approved Ann Gardner as coordinator of federal and drug-free grant funds.
Diana Boehmer was employed as a grade seven through 12 mathematics instructor, Ali Matheney as a first-grade teacher and Wendy Ely as a second-grade teacher, pending satisfactory completion all certification requirements and background checks. The board also approved a list of classified substitutes for the 2009-10 school year, and moved Christine Lees and Mari Ross on the salary schedule due to verification of requirements.
In addition to approving routine fiscal actions, the board accepted $325 from the Centerburg Salvation Army to the elementary school, $299 from the elementary PTO for Accelerated Reading tests, six Dell laptop computers with docking stations from Embarq, an anonymous donation of $2,000 to the UR Special Scholarship Fund and $5,352 from the Elementary PTO to the elementary principal’s fund. It also approved the fees for fall and winter sports passes for the 2009-10 school year. They will be the same as for the 2008-09 school year.
The board entered into a lease agreement with Centerburg Senior Services Inc. through May 2010, into an agreement with Instructional Technology Service of Central Ohio Inc. for technology services for the 2009-10 school year, and accepted bids from United Dairy and Nickles Bakery for milk and bread products, respectively, for the 2009-10 school year.
Other actions taken by the board included the adoption of several new and revised policies, the approval of several students’ applications to participate in the Post Secondary Option for the 2009-10 school year, the acceptance of Courtney Cheek as a student teacher with Chad Kuhn and Dawn Lawrence, and the approval of a three-week, three-days-per week summer third-grade reading program and summer speech program. The board also employed Erin Hoyt, Nancy Gore, as needed, and Meghan Brindley as summer program staff.
No further action was taken.