The questions about why the leader of one of Ohio’s largest school systems was ordered on leave continue in Hamilton.
Since Feb. 5, Hamilton schools Superintendent Tony Orr has been absent by orders of the school board.
A long executive session on Thursday saw Hamilton Board of Education members emerge the same way they went into the private meeting – without comment.
Here are five things to know about this situation:
1. Neither side is talking. Outside of released statements from the board and Orr shortly after the superintendent’s paid leave was ordered, there has been no comments from either party. The board cited allegations Orr violated board policies.
2. The community is talking. Rumors as to why Orr was ordered on leave continue to swirl through the 10,000-student city schools and the city of more than 62,000 residents.
A handful of parents have consistently spoken at school board meetings since early February asking why Orr was told to leave.
School parent and Orr supporter Randy Romer has been among them, and he said “the rumors are exploding.”
3. The board said allegations do not involve students. This news outlet has checked repeatedly with Hamilton police to see if they are conducting any investigation involving Orr in any manner, and officials there said no.
In his only statement to date, Orr said he did not know the nature of the allegations against him and expressed confidence he will be exonerated and returned to his superintendent’s job.
4. It could end Monday. On Thursday the board reviewed an independent investigation report, joined by the school system’s attorney. Board members declined to comment Thursday regarding the investigation’s report, but they said the board plans to meet on Monday at 5 p.m. and again will go into private, executive session as allowed by Ohio law for boards discussing personnel matters.
5. Teachers union representatives wanted to be heard. Some members of the union representing teachers in Hamilton schools attended the special board meeting Thursday, where the board took some actions on unrelated motions before convening into executive session.
Debra Gann, president of the Hamilton Classroom Teachers Association, asked Isgro, “Do you have any idea when you might make a decision” on Orr’s job status?
Isgro replied, “We are going to have to probably study the (investigator’s) report and make a decision from there.”
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