BELLBROOK, Ohio (WDTN)– Several school board members in the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek district remain in their positions after being charged for allegations of misconduct. At Thursday night’s board meeting some parents said the charges concern them and questioned whether trust can ever be restored in board members, while others say anyone involved is considered innocent until proven guilty.

“I don’t want to see anything happen because right now he hasn’t had his day in court,” said Bellbrook parent Michael Landry. “I give him the benefit of doubt, he’s innocent until proven guilty.”

Superintendent Dr. Doug Cozad and fellow board members David Carpenter and Virginia Slouffman are facing charges stemming from 2019’s levy campaign for the district. Cozad is charged with four first-degree misdemeanor counts of illegal transaction of public funds through a newsletter and mailer. According to court documents, Cozad reportedly hired a consulting firm and conducted a phone survey related to that levy. He also faces four second-degree misdemeanor charges of dereliction of duty for allegedly using those funds to promote the levy. Board members Carpenter and Slouffman and two former members are also facing charges; one charge of illegal transaction and one charge of dereliction of duty.

Former board member Karen Long, who resigned in May of 2021, voiced her full support Thursday night.

“Dr. Cozad, I support you and stand by you. Board members, I support you and stand by you,” said Long. “I can’t begin to imagine how you’re feeling at this time, but the little taste I’ve had of this in the past, I felt alone. You are not alone.”

The Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Board of Education released this statement last week, stating “We are taking this issue very seriously and will closely follow the matter as it works through the legal system. To take any personnel actions at this time would be premature.”

Now, some parents are waiting for the process to play out.

“I’m just a concerned parent, I support Dr. Cozad for what he’s done but we all have to be held accountable if we did something that wasn’t legal or inappropriate,” said Landry.

Dr. Cozad will appear in court next Wednesday.