Tipp City residents calling for school board members to resign

ajc.com

TIPP CITY – A group calling itself Concerned Citizens in Tipp City is circulating petitions calling for the resignations of Tipp City Exempted Village School Board of Education President Theresa Dunaway and Vice President Anne Zakkour.

“The quality of education and overall health of Tipp City Schools is at serious risk with the actions and perceived lack of leadership from our current School Board,” said Steve Staub in answering questions on behalf of the Concerned Citizens group.

Staub was among district residents speaking at recent board meetings expressing concern about board decisions on issues such as open enrollment. He called for the resignations in his remarks to the board April 26.

The petitions alleged the two have “demonstrated a voting history that appears to not be working in and for the best interest of students, Tipp City Exempted Village School employees and the overall health and vitality of our schools and our community.”

The resignations of Dunaway and Zakkour area being sought because they “ultimately are responsible for issues regarding the organization.” A third of the five board members Corine Doll often votes along with Zakkour and Dunaway but was not named in the petition or call for resignation.

The petition states if the two board leaders don’t resign voluntarily, the Tipp City Concerned Citizens will “exercise all legal rights to remove them from the Board of Education to protect Tipp City Schools from further harm.”

An advertisement in the weekly local newspaper published May 12 listed nearly 70 names of those who had signed the petitions so far. Staub said the petitions have had “a large and positive response … in a very short period of time.”

“The quality of education and overall health of Tipp City Schools is at serious risk with the actions and perceived lack of leadership from our current School Board,” he said.

Dunaway and Zakkour submitted a statement Friday written by Dunaway. This statement reflects both of their thoughts at this time, they said.

“Since I have joined the Tipp City School Board, I have endeavored to only focus on what is best for our students Many times, that means making tough calls that will inevitably upset some of our staff, administration, and community. This is not a popularity contest. It is unfortunate that my detractors have focused on personal attacks on me and my family due to their personal dislikes for some of the hard choices the board and I have had to make. What many members of the community do not understand is that due to state and federal regulations that are meant to protect the privacy of student and employee records, I cannot provide the entire context of my decisions,” Dunaway wrote.

“The petition circulators appear to dislike me personally and have focused on matters at the school they know I cannot offer a defense without violating laws regarding students and staff’s privacy rights. The petition allegations about me are recklessly false and I am uncertain if they are making these false allegations because the circulators are uninformed, or because they have some personal animosity towards me,” the statement said.

“Making matters worse, there appears to be a deep division in the board. While I encourage independent and different perspectives on our Board to ensure that we are properly considering our decisions, I sincerely wish our board could be more focused on the issues and less on agendas forwarded by polarized groups within our community. If the community knew all of the information that goes into my direction and decisions, I firmly believe that instead of wasting resources attacking me personally, and the extensive public records requests, they would join me in making sure that we have the best school system in the state,” Dunaway wrote. “Being a Board member is the best and most difficult duty that any member of this community can do. I have also learned that it comes at a great personal price if you really want to do what is right for the students as opposed to keeping the status quo.”