Lakota board to search for replacement after member unexpectedly resigns

Veteran Lakota school board member Todd Parnell unexpectedly resigned from his seat Thursday. Parnell, who was in his second, four-year term on the board, cited personal reasons for departing the board before the end of his term. (File Photo\Journal-News)
Veteran Lakota school board member Todd Parnell unexpectedly resigned from his seat Thursday. Parnell, who was in his second, four-year term on the board, cited personal reasons for departing the board before the end of his term. (File Photo\Journal-News)

A rare emergency meeting of the Lakota school board saw a two-term member announce this resignation and members will soon focus on appointing a new member.

The hastily called meeting late Thursday afternoon, which was conducted online and immediately saw the board go into executive session, included the receipt of Todd Parnell’s resignation among other board activities allowed by law in such private sessions.

Parnell told the Journal-News his departure is due to his pursuit of a new job opportunity that will see him move outside of the Lakota district, which includes West Chester and Liberty townships.

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Parnell, a six-year veteran and former vice president of the board, said he wished he could stay but new circumstances won’t allow it.

“This has been a very trying year and due to business issues along with family obligations (and) I do not feel I can give the proper time and energy that being a board member requires,” Parnell wrote in his resignation letter to board members. “Therefore, I am resigning my position on the Lakota School Board effective at midnight tonight.”

Under Ohio law, the now four-member, governing board of Lakota Schools has to wait 10 days and then will have 30 days to solicit applications, interview board candidates and vote an appointed member to fill Parnell’s seat.

In a statement, Lakota Board of Education President Brad Lovell wrote: “Mr. Parnell has resigned from his position on the Lakota Board of Education due to personal reasons.”

“He has explained that he is no longer able to meet the commitments required of a school board member due to business and family obligations,” said Lovell.

Parnell’s letter stated: “I have enjoyed my six-plus years on the board and truly feel I made a difference for the district, students and the community. I hope my accomplishments, with the wonderful board members I have worked with, are appreciated.”

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He told the Journal-News he was grateful to serve on the board but had not been planning of staying in the elected office beyond his current term.

“I am most proud of the fiscal success (of Lakota) and for bringing in (superintendent) Matt Miller. My second term was ending next year and I was not going to run for re-election,” he said.

Fellow member Lynda O’Connor said at the end of Thursday’s meeting “I want to thank Mr. Parnell for his many years of service to the community.”

Ohio school boards oversee public school districts, hire a superintendent and treasurer, approve policies and makes the final decisions on how to spend millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money regarding the operation of local schools.

Elected board members serve four-year terms. Parnell’s replacement will serve through Dec. 31, 2021, completing his four-year term.

Board of education applicants must be a U.S. citizen, reside within the school district for at least 30 days and be of 18 years of age.

Other qualifications are determined by local school boards who advertise for applicants, review candidate qualifications and then interview the applicants they choose.

Ohio school boards oversee public school districts, hire a superintendent and treasurer, approve policies and makes the final decisions on how to spend millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money regarding the operation of local schools.

School board members’ pay per meeting ranges from $80 to $125.