CROWDED ROOM … Members of the public stand crowded in the Delta School Board Office during the meeting on December 21st. (PHOTO BY JACOB KESSLER, STAFF)
By: Jacob Kessler
The Pike-Delta-York Board of Education held their meeting on Wednesday, December 21st.
More than forty people filed into the Delta Board of Education office for the meeting, which began at 6:30 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance.
The board first moved to approve the minutes from the previous meeting that took place on November 16th.
December’s Students of the Month were then recognized during recognition of the guests.
Delta Elementary School student Cora Holly, Delta Middle School student Mason Barnes, and Delta High School student Stephanie Kuyoth were selected for this round of students of the month.
Each student was brought up in front of everyone while a brief description about them and why they were selected was read. They were then presented a certificate before standing for pictures.
Following, visitors who had signed in to speak were given the floor. Karen Tuck spoke first.
Tuck stated “When I saw the picture of one of our board members on Facebook, I was shocked that such a thing could happen in our little town. I just couldn’t hardly believe it.”
“So, I decided something needed to be done and I really thank all the people that showed up tonight in support of requesting Mr. Bower to please resign from the board.”
“I understand that the board can’t kick him off and Mr. Haselman can’t fire him because he’s your boss not the other way around.”
“So, I learned a lot about how the school board operates in the process of this experience.”
She continued with, “I know it’s the voters who has the right and the responsibility to elect board members and I find it shocking that this information came out after Mr. Bower was elected.”
“So, there is really nothing to do except beg him to be responsible and not besmirch the name of Delta and the Pike-Delta-York School District.”
Jake Hames was introduced to speak next and stated the following. “I grew up in the district knowing the golden rule, treat others the way you’d want to be treated.”
“The fact that I had to speak tonight is heartbreaking and horrible.” He continued with, “You do not exert anything that the PDYS Schools is founded by and disgrace me with your history.”
“You have been convicted of theft multiple times and not just harmed the businesses but innocent people.”
“You abuse your position for personal gain and have made great people leave due to your actions in office and your past.”
“I for one will preach for everyone when I say a man with your history should not be a part of the board here at Delta, or any board.”
“Our students do not need a man of greed, whose only interest is to hurt innocent people while overseeing this great district.”
“We need leaders, philosophical, brave, and responsible leaders that will teach students to give back even when you have a little, instead of stealing and hurting others.”
“I’ve put blood sweat and tears into my program at Delta. It scares me that a man like you is on this board because you would steal anything I worked for in a second if you could.”
“Tim Bower, I request that you step down effective immediately from your duties.” Mr. Hames continued for a little longer before Jennifer Barnes was introduced.
Barnes addressed the board with the following, “I’m sure you are aware that, according to public records, one of the members of our school board has plead guilty or no contest to three counts of theft.
Two were misdemeanors and one was a felony shortly after his elected term began. That felony case, which took place in Henry County, Mr. Bower had stolen an amount of money that qualified as a felony charge.
He plead not guilty; however, he withdrew that and submitted a guilty plea. Once this happened, he was granted treatment in lieu of conviction which is pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 2951.041.”
Continuing, “That gives a lot of specifications of why he was able to do that including things such as drug use, mental health and alcohol abuse can all fall under that code.”
“So, I applaud that you sought treatment but that allows them to have a probationary period. So, they get to have a probationary period, unfortunately by maintaining the seat on the board, the board has no probationary period here for this member.”
“The school district, all the voters, all the people paying taxes, we don’t get a probationary period with him.”
“We must immediately trust and that’s really difficult to do. I also have with me tonight the code of ethics and conduct.”
“Code 0123 that comes from the policy manual section 0000 the bylaws of the PDY Board of Education.”
Furthermore, “These bylaws begin with: A. remember that my first and greatest concern must be the educational welfare of all students attending public schools.
B. obey the laws of Ohio and the United States. Those are pretty critical here because I recognize that by being convicted, the laws were not obeyed, and it is clearly in our bylaws that they must be obeyed.”
“And I’m also going to jump down to H, render all decisions based on the facts and by independent judgement rather than succumbing to the influence of individuals or special interest groups.”
“The individuals we are representing are the community. There’s no special interest group here tonight so I think that’s important to recognize as well.”
Barnes ended with the following, “How do you tell a high school student that they have violated the handbook and they are going to be punished, yet a member of our board blatantly disregards the bylaws of our board of education with no remorse to the district, no remorse to the students, no remorse to the remainder of the board that has been publicly shown.”
“I would suggest Mr. Bower that you consider resigning immediately because this group that you see here tonight is not going to get smaller.”
“To the members of the board, I can assure you this is only going to get bigger. We understand that the only thing we can do is seek legal counsel to ask Mr. Bower to resign that way through the courts system which would mean that the board will need to retain attorneys if that is the route, and you can clearly see there are people here willing.”
Angela Riley spoke next with the following. “My question to you as a school board is when do we stop and make the right decisions for the district?”
“I feel like there’s been a lot of things that have happened that have not been handled correctly and you can see that were all here, and it has to be done right.”
“Things cannot continue to keep happening like this. There are rules, there are bylaws, as of right now Mr. Bower needs to step down immediately from his position.”
“I feel like I feel that way and everyone in here almost, I can’t speak for everyone. But it’s time to take a precedence in what we do.”
She continued with, “We want to be a community that helps support people, but also if you don’t follow the laws, you can’t go out and rob someone’s house (metaphorically speaking) and not have consequences.”
“The problem is there has not been consequences to your actions on multiple occasions. It’s time for it to stop, and you as a board needs to say enough is enough.”
“We need you to step down. He needs to take this in consideration and move forward with this so we can move on and have a great school district and a great community, because that’s what were here for.”
At that time the hearing of the public had concluded, and the board moved on to the public hearing regarding the 2023-2024 school calendar.
It was stated that the calendar looks fairly similar to this current school year. The board was asked to submit any recommendations regarding the calendar before it is presented for approval in a future board meeting.
The board was then presented the treasurers report, which was approved, before moving on to hear the superintendent’s report.
Included in the report were the following items:
- personnel recommendations
- approval for the 2023-2024 High School Guidance Handbook, proposed 3-hour delay schedule and a remote learning day modification.
- an overnight trip for the 6th grade class to go to Camp Storer.
- approve Andrew Ashby for a diploma for 2023, and the appointment of Thomas Tuck to the Delta Public Library Board of Trustees.
The board moved to approve the superintendent’s report before moving to discuss the 2023 organizational meeting.
Following discussion, the organizational meeting was set for January 11th at 6:15 p.m. The regular meeting will follow directly after the organizational meeting.
Building reports were then discussed with each of the principals delivering a report before moving on to hear items from individual board members.
Board member Kelly Valentine stated the following to all that had attended the meeting. “I guess that I’ll just say thank you for everyone who felt they needed to come and share their thoughts.
With no need to go into executive session, the meeting was adjourned at 7:22 p.m.
Jacob can be reached at email@example.com