MOUNT VERNON — In limbo since May, the contract termination hearing of suspended Mount Vernon Middle School teacher John Freshwater is still on hold.
Scheduled to resume today, it was postponed again after hearing referee Lee Shepherd met with Freshwater’s attorney Kelly Hamilton and school board attorney David Millstone.
Shepherd announced the delay to those assembled for the hearing stating a section of the revised code which gives educators the option of not “working” during the summer months. He said the hearings should resume on or after Thursday, Sept. 10.
Hamilton made it clear he was exercising those statutory rights on Freshwater’s behalf, against his client’s wishes. He said Freshwater “wants this over so he can get back to teaching, if not in Mount Vernon somewhere else.” Hamilton indicated he will be using the time to take other procedural steps regarding the hearing, perhaps with the 5th Court of Appeals and the Ohio Supreme Court.
Millstone said he is disappointed the hearing was again postponed. “The board is anxious to get this over with,” he said. “This is an unnecessary delaying tactic which does the public no good. It does the school no good. It’s unnecessary.”
Knox County Common Pleas Court Judge Otho Eyster dismissed Hamilton’s request earlier this month to compel school board members to testify at the hearing because the board successfully quashed the subpoenas rendering them void. Eyster said he had no grounds under law to overturn the board’s decision to invalidate the subpoenas this case.
Freshwater was suspended in June 2008. The decision was based, in part, on the results of an independent investigation into various allegations of misconduct.