Urbana school board spars over evaluations

By Casey S. Elliott - [email protected]

Urbana City Schools board members disagreed over comments on employee evaluations of its two top administrators Tuesday, with one board member claiming not including comments on the documents is illegal.

Board member Jack Beard disagreed with Board President Alyssa Dunham at the meeting over Superintendent Charles Thiel and Treasurer Mandy Hildebrand’s annual evaluation documents, which had been up for approval at prior meetings but tabled. The board entered into a half-hour executive session before any other business on the agenda Tuesday, presumably to hash out disagreements with the evaluations.

Beard said he did not think keeping comments off those evaluation documents was legal.

“I believe that our process for evaluating the superintendent is not according to Ohio Revised Code,” he said during open discussion on the evaluation. “I feel like, for an evaluation to be a good evaluation, something has to be beneficial to both parties. There needs to be something identified as needing to improve on, something identified as doing a great job on. I believe comments should be included. Since comments were not included, I believe our rights were not followed correctly. I will find out if that’s the case.

“If I vote no on this, it has nothing to do with the superintendent; it has to do with the process,” he added.

Dunham told the board she did not include comments because of a concern that litigation may ensue from their inclusion. She did not state what about the comments could instill litigation.

“They were submitted with no comments. I chose to leave it that way due to protecting the board and the school district from possible litigation,” she said following the meeting.

Board member Warren Stevens said he thought board members could vote on whether comments are attached. Beard said they did not have that opportunity and that is why he thinks his rights as a board member were violated.

Dunham said the board president has the discretion on how to present evaluations for board approval. Board members can vote on the presented evaluation.

“It’s the way the board president submits (evaluations) to the vote of the majority,” she said. She said this issue was also present with last year’s evaluations of both treasurer and president.

Board discussions in executive session are allowed by law to be excluded from meeting minutes and summaries. Some of the things boards can discuss in executive session include employment issues and contract terms, and property purchases. Once the board formally acts on an employment contract or property purchase, that document becomes a public record.

The board approved evaluations for both Hildebrand and Thiel; though Beard voted no on both, and board member Tim Lacy voted no on Thiel’s evaluation. The two evaluations became public records as soon as the board approved them.

The superintendent evaluation rated Thiel at 2.04 combined score on a scale of 0-3 points in Vision, Continuous Improvement and Focus of District work; 2.03 in Communication and Collaboration; 2.21 in Policies and Governance; 2.08 in Instruction; and 2.27 in Resources.

The treasurer evaluation rated Hildebrand at 3.28 out of 4 points overall in Leadership; 3.35 in Financial Management; 3.34 in Facilities, Property and capital Asset Management; 3.37 in Communication and Collaboration; and 3.36 in Professionalism.

New contracts for the treasurer and superintendent were tabled until the January meeting for action by the board.

In other action, the board:

•Approved setting the tax budget hearing for 5:30 p.m. Jan. 12; organizational meeting and January board meeting to follow.

•Approved donations totaling $2,650 to the North Elementary PBIS program from East Lawn & Garden Center, Donay Life & Wellness Center, Lantz Sales Co., The Airport Cafe, One-Eleven, Wal-Mart, Andrew & Amy Donahoe-Advocare, CT Communications, Security National Bank, River of Life Christian Center, Nationwide Insurance Sellman Agency, Edward Jones, Hoffman Roofing, Trisha Foster KEEP Collective, Lori Bush 31, Hiltibran Contracting, BWG Trucking LLC, RJV Contracting, FOP Urbana Lodge #93, The Medicine Shoppe, Main Graphics LLC, Urbana Fire Fighters Local 1823, KTH, The Peoples Savings Bank and Studio 548 Pilates and Fitness 4 Life; $40 to the Urbana High School Band from Carmen Lacy; and books valued at $36.15 to Urbana East Elementary from Warren Stevens.

•Approved substitute paraprofessional Karla Berry for the 2015-16 school year.

•Approved Assistant Junior High Track Coach Cory Maycock at Step 0 for the 2015-16 school year.

•Approved volunteer High School Boys Basketball Coach Tom Evans at Level 2, volunteer High School Baseball Coach Phil Edwards at Level 2, volunteer High School Baseball Coach Jesse Ellis at Level 1, all for the 2015-16 school year.

•Approved Assistant Junior High Football Coach Mike White at Step 2 and Head Girls Soccer Coach Brandon Deskins at Step 1 for the 2016-17 school year.

•Approved Assistant Varsity Football Coach Cory Maycock at Step 0 for the 2016-17 school year.

•Approved the Urbana High School Wrestling Team trip to the Iron Man Wrestling Tournament in Stow, Ohio from Dec. 10-12, 2015.

•Approved the Urbana High School Wrestling Team trip to the District Wrestling Tournament in Wilmington, from Feb. 26-27, 2016.

•Approved the Urbana High School Wrestling Team trip to the State Wrestling Tournament in Columbus, from March 3-5, 2016.

By Casey S. Elliott

[email protected]

Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.

Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.