CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said Sheila Woody was the Assistant Superintendent of Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Local School District. That was incorrect. Woody is the Assistant to the Superintendent.
BELLBROOK, Ohio (WDTN) — The Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Local School District held a special meeting on Saturday, November 6, 2021 to discuss allegations of misconduct involving district employees.
After several hours in executive session, members of the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Board of Education released a statement regarding the outcome of that meeting. In the statement, members of the board said the district is taking this matter seriously and they understand the concerns about recent claims involving board members and the superintendent.
“It is very important for the community to consider that the charges against the Superintendent, two of the five current board members, and two previous board members do not involve allegations of personal financial gain or benefit. Many of you are already familiar with the complaint filed in 2019 that led to where we are today.”Kevin Price, Audra Dorn, Mike Kinsey
The charges are tied to a levy the district was trying to pass in 2019. That levy failed three times, but it finally passed in May 2021. Superintendent Doug Cozad is charged with four first-degree misdemeanor counts of illegal transaction of public funds through a newsletter and mailer. Cozad reportedly hired a consulting firm and conducted a phone survey related to that levy.
Cozad also faces four second-degree misdemeanor charges of dereliction of duty for allegedly using those funds to promote the levy.
Two current and two former school board members are also facing charges. All four are facing one charge of illegal transaction and one charge of dereliction of duty.
Members of the board said they cannot comment on legal actions involving district personnel; however, the school board has “full confidence in the ability of Superintendent Doug Cozad to lead.” They also said David Carpenter and Virginia Slouffman will continue their roles on the board. They will be recused from discussion and voting on this matter.
“We are taking this issue very seriously and will closely follow this matter as it works its way through the legal system. To take any personnel actions at this time would be premature. We will continue to communicate with you as we gain more information on this matter and as we are able.”Kevin Price, Audra Dorn, Mike Kinsey