TIPP CITY, Ohio (Miami Valley Today) — A resolution censuring the Tipp City Board of Education failed by a 2-3 vote at Monday’s meeting.
The resolution, presented to the board by board member Simon Patry, came after the Tipp City Education Association’s (TCEA) vote of “no confidence” in board member Anne Zakkour and a resolution sent by the TCEA calling for censure of comments made by Zakkour. According to Patry, he felt that although the TCEA called for censure of Zakkour specifically, the board as a whole should share in the blame.
“To me, accountability is not only being responsible for what you’ve done or may have done incorrectly, but maybe failed to take action. Sometimes our conduct may not be improper, but it may not be our best conduct. When I’m faced with these types of situations, I look internally, and I feel that there’s certainly things I could have done that could have been better, and I could have taken different courses of action, and I think we can always act and do better and we need to try. When I look back at 18 months (sic), I feel there were plenty of opportunities for all of us to have done better,” Patry said.
Patry and board member Joellen Heatherly voted in favor of the resolution, and board member Corine Doll, vice president Anne Zakkour and president Theresa Dunaway voted against the resolution.
While the resolution failed due to several board members expressing concern over the wording of the document, a motion to create a board statement in response to the TCEA’s resolution was approved in a 4-1 vote, with Patry voting against the motion.
The motion was introduced by Heatherly two hours after the discussion of the resolution, after the board adjourned from executive session. Heatherly had brought up that no action was made to bring up the TCEA’s resolution at the June 15 work session, and she felt that the lack of acknowledgement was disrespectful given that the TCEA gave the board until June 15 to take action on the resolution calling for censure of Zakkour’s comments.
“I can’t speak for the board, but as I said earlier, I just think that our lack of responding the last time, that group is owed an apology, and so I’ll just say on behalf of me, I wish that I would’ve pursued that further, to at least acknowledge that they wanted an acknowledgement of some action,” Heatherly said.
Heatherly added the board has to show a consensus that they’re all willing to move forward in order to regain the trust of the community.
“I think this is part of the discord that our community is telling us, and they want us to work better together. So, rather than point the finger and blame at one board member, I would be in agreement to a statement that shares that commitment moving forward,” Heatherly said.
Patry voted against the motion due to Superintendent Mark Stefanik suggesting board members send statements to him individually, and that he and school Community Relations Coordinator Liz Robbins would draft a full statement.
“Respectfully, Mr. Stefanik, I don’t think it’s appropriate for you to take different perceptions of board members related to an issue that pertains to, really, a political issue that pertains to the board members and other entities, rather, constituents, and put that into a statement coming from you. I think that has to be deliberated upon in a public meeting and discussed,” Patry said.
A full board statement is planned to be drafted at a later date. The next regular meeting of the Tipp City Board of Education will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, July 26.