BELLBROOK, Ohio (WDTN) – The State of Ohio may be willing to plea bargain with Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Superintendent Dr. Doug Cozad.

Our partners at Xenia Daily Gazette report Cozad, along with four other board members are facing multiple charges of illegal transaction of public funds and dereliction of duty for the district’s 2019 operating levy campaign.

The state recommended that Cozad plead guilty to one count of illegal transaction of public funds and three counts of dereliction of duty. In return, the state will drop the remaining charges, according to the pretrial report filed by Samuel Kirk, special prosecutor from the state auditor’s office.

Kirk also recommended Cozad pay restitution of $61,214 plus court costs.

Board President David Carpenter, board member Virginia Slouffman and past board members Elizabeth Betz and Kathy Kingston have been charged with one count each of illegal transaction of public funds and dereliction of duty, according to our partners.

In November 2021, Cozad and the four members of the school board initially filled Entry of Appearance, a move that automatically enters a not-guilty plea.

According to court documents obtained by our partners at Xenia Daily Gazette, Cozad was responsible for the language in a newsletter sent to the district and authorized the payment of government funds for its printing and mailing.

Documents say he is also responsible for the use of public funds to hire Allerton Hill Consulting to assist in “reviving and passing” another proposed operating levy which included a phone survey after the levy failed in May.

According to court documents, more than $57,000 in public funds were used.