Tipp City teachers union votes no confidence in board member

Tippecanoe High School. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
Tippecanoe High School. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

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Anne Zakkour says censure request is unfounded and without merit.

The Tipp City Education Association’s members approved a vote of no confidence in board of education member Anne Zakkour and sent a resolution to the board of education and superintendent requesting the board censure Zakkour’s comments about the TCEA and its President Heather Yunker.

“This vote is the result of Mrs. Zakkour’s statements and behavior during her tenure as an elected school board member,” Yunker said.

TCEA said 90% of its members participated in the vote with 99% of those present supporting the “no confidence” declaration.

“The evidence within the letter (to the superintendent and board) exhibits Mrs. Zakkour’s lack of knowledge, misperceptions and misunderstandings regarding the processes that exist between a school district’s board and a professional organization,” TCEA said in its statement. The association claimed Zakkour’s demeanor during board meetings “has cultivated a culture of distrust and divisiveness” among school staff, administration and community.

“The board, administration and association must be committed to working together,” Yunker said. “It is our duty as professionals to model effective communication for the betterment of the district.”

In the resolution, the TCEA outlines its rationale behind the no confidence voting citing statements Zakkour made during board meetings on issues including open enrollment and data regarding area school district agreements for employee children. They also point to her comments at the April 26 meeting that the association claims “place blame on the association and the association president for not communicating district issues and for actions taken by community members.”

Zakkour and board of education President Theresa Dunaway also are being asked in petitions by a citizens group to resign their board positions.

“The Tipp City Education Association’s calling for my comments as a board member to be censured (silenced) by the Tipp City School Board of Education is unfounded and without merit.

As a school board member, I work hard to honor the principles I campaigned on, including the adherence to following district policies, state and federal laws,” Zakkour said in a written statement.

“The Association’s allegations against me do not specify what policy, association negotiated agreement or laws they feel were violated. Simply put, it seems they did not like or appreciate some of my comments for stating facts, as an elected official, while speaking to my constituents,” she said.

“In discussing this recent development with my precious teenage daughter, she reminded me that a vote of ‘No Confidence’ should really be for someone who says nothing at all, or does not offer their thoughts, opinions or ideas at meetings. And if that is the case then what is the purpose of having an elected official without exercising his/her first amendment right? My daughter attends Tipp City Schools and I’d say she is receiving a good education in thinking about American governance,” Zakkour said.

“Our expression of free speech is precious, and we must always be mindful when attempting to take it away, particularly for elected officials speaking to their constituents. I am hopeful the board and the association will continue to work together to ensure all voices and concerns can be elevated within the appropriate processes.”

The TCEA asked the board to respond to its resolution by June 15.

Superintendent Stefanik confirmed late Wednesday he and the board received the TCEA resolution.

“I am not aware what steps the Board will take, if any, regarding the resolution,” he said.

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