Springboro board expels two residents from meeting

Two Springboro residents were ordered to leave the district’s school board meeting Thursday as the board took more criticism from parents and others upset about the lack of a contract settlement with local teachers and other controversies prompted by board actions.

“I felt compelled to come here for the first time and speak because this board has lost all credibility in making decisions that are in the best interests of our students,” parent Jason Lewis said.

Lewis primarily commented on the board plans, since abandoned, to offer a summer course at Springboro High School which critics say present a religious spin on the U.S. Constitution. The classes will be offered at a Clearcreek Township church starting next week.

Springboro Tea Party President Sonny Thomas backed the board during comments that he concluded by unfurling a Confederate flag. Teachers’ union supporters, many in red shirts and tops, filled most of the seats at the meeting, and lined the walls and walkways of the board room.

Board President Kelly Kohls directed resident Leslie Marsh to leave when she began urging the board to settle with the teachers. Kohls said she was stopping Marsh because she was talking about items not on the meeting agenda.

“We’re going to follow the policy, guys,” Kohls said.

She later ordered Lewis to leave when he spoke out during her comments criticizing a book being used by students in a history class.

The board unanimously approved a new four-year contract with the district's non-certified employees, the Springboro Classified Employees Association.

Noted is that a classified employee ”who utilizes sick leave during the work stoppage may be required to provide medical verification,” according to a memorandum attached to the agreement.

In the agreement, the board also promises to match salary hikes and health care cost sharing negotiated with the teachers union.

The board and teachers’ union have been negotiating since April. The existing agreement expired on June 30. School starts on August 26.

The union has authorized issuance of a 10-day strike notice. The board is working with Huffmaster, a company specializing in providing security and replacement teachers in the event of a strike.

“Why does it seem like the board is more focused on settling a contract with Huffmaster in order to staff a strike than it is on settling a contract with our teachers?” parent Stephanie Bindemann said during the meeting.

There was no action after an executive session that included discussion of the teachers’ contract.

The board pulled from the final agenda items originally scheduled for Thursday’s meeting, including discussion of renewal of a property tax renewal. Aug. 7 is the deadline for placing the issue on the November ballot.

About the Author