Springboro School Board President Dave Stuckey pulled back on statements he made about Board Member Lisa Babb during a meeting . Her actions were “neither unlawful or unethical” Stuckey read from a statement at a recent meeting as he referred to Babb’s role with a parent group seeking board action on several issues. LAWRENCE BUDD/STAFF
Photo: Lawrence Budd
Photo: Lawrence Budd

Springboro school board softens rhetoric in internal dispute

Board President Dave Stuckey read a statement at the June 8 board meeting referring to a May 24 statement he made criticizing Board Member Lisa Babb for “colluding” with a parents group.

RELATED: Parents group pressing Springboro school board

“At our last meeting, the board issued a statement regarding the actions of Mrs. Babb pertaining to a parent letter about communication in the district,” Stuckey said in the statement.

“While the board maintains its disagreement with Mrs. Babb’s approach to this issue, it is important to note that her involvement was neither unlawful or unethical,” he continued.

“While there are still issues that we need to address regarding the way we operate collectively, we are committed to working through those issues internally going forward,” Stuckey concluded the statement.

Last week, the board announced it would appoint Dan Gudz to replace Dr. Darin Lunt, who resigned citing stress related to the disagreement over Babb’s role in the letter and petition bearing 130 signatures from district residents.

Despite the dispute, Gudz said the board would be working together as it prepared for a district vote on a substitute levy and the November election, when he would run on a platform with Stuckey and Board Member Charles Anderson.

RELATED: Springboro school board announces board appointment

Gudz is to be appointed in a meeting to begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the junior high library.

At the June 8 meeting, Stuckey also noted Lunt’s resignation followed the resignation of Ron Malone who ran with him and Anderson four years ago on a ticket promising to end an era of division and publicity of the board for discussions of controversial issues, rather than the district’s excellence.

RELATED: Candidates pledge to end division in school district

“We have to replace the replacement,” Stuckey said.

Lunt, an orthodontist, left the board, after advising the other members he would not be running for election in November and was weighing resignation due to threats against his family and business. Malone left last year, citing stress sitting on the board.

At the May 24 meeting, the board also criticized former Communication Director Karen Lane DeRosa’s role in the petition and letter, which claimed there were communication and special education issues in the district.

DeRosa countered with claims the board met illegally before the May 24 meeting to press for Babb’s resignation and violated the law by provided copies of an email from Babb to the group.

RELATED: Former employee accuses Springboro school board of illegal meeting, law violation

In addition to the statement, Babb and Board Member Jamie Belanger commented at the June 8 meeting on the dispute and Lunt’s departure.

Babb expressed disappointment at Lunt’s resignation and hope the board would work together.

“The last board meeting wasn’t good for anybody,” she said.

Belanger said Lunt’s resignation and the events leading to it were a “shame,” but said the district had already taken steps to improve special education at Clearcreek Elementary School.

Belanger also said Superintendent Dan Schroer had sent a letter to parents, offering them individual meetings on their concerns.

“I wanted to email all of you to share that we received your letter and are listening. Today, I reach out to you in the event you would like to have an additional conversation with me about these issues,” Schroer said in the June 6 email.

So far, the district has received three responses, one from DeRosa and her husband interested in setting up a meeting to discuss their concerns, according to the district’s response to a public records request.

Schroer added a new communications director, Scott Marshall, would be charged with making any needed improvements in district communications.

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