SIDNEY — The Midwest Regional Educational Service Center Board of Education accepted the negotiated resignation of Superintendent Heather O’Donnell at its monthly meeting, Thursday, Feb. 15.
The board opened the meeting at 6:30 p.m. and shortly after, entered into executive session for an hour and a half for the purpose of discussing “the employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion, or compensation of public employees.”
The board moved back into regular session around 8 p.m., at which time the board voted on a motion to accept a negotiated resignation agreement. This decision was made in lieu of non-renewing O’Donnell’s personnel contract.
The board would not comment on the agreement, the motion or the decision.
O’Donnell was put on paid administrative leave last July following her arrest and indictment for child endangering in connection with the indictment of her husband, Patrick O’Donnell, former superintendent of Indian Lake Schools and a former Sidney City Schools superintendent, on charges of rape, sexual battery and gross sexual imposition.
Heather’s charges were subsequently dropped as part of a plea deal Patrick agreed to, Feb. 7.
After passing the motion, the board approved the employment and personnel contract of Scott Howell as interim superintendent, effective March 1 through July 31, and as the superintendent, effective Aug. 1 through July 31, 2021.
In other business affecting Shelby County, the board:
• Accepted the following donations: $300 from Botkins Education Association for the purpose of Academia scholarship; $50 from Russia Education Association for the purpose of Academia scholarship; $508.45 from Shelby County Community Foundation for the purpose of speech supplies; $12,000 from Honda of America for the purpose of the Shelby County Lego Robotics program; and $4,500 from the Shelby County United Way for the purpose of third-quarter guidance counseling at the Opportunity School, located at 1215 Campbell Road.
• Announced a Shelby County United Way grant hearing on March 22 for guidance counseling at the Opportunity School.
• Accepted $7,500 from Shelby County Juvenile Court, who helped to pay for Amy Simindinger as juvenile court liaison between the courts and the schools. The court pays $15,000 yearly for this service.
• Approved payment to the city of Sidney for $25,000 as part of an agreement between the city and MRESC to pay for the software used for MROLA, the online schooling system formerly known as SCOLA (Shelby County Online Learning Academy).
• Approved the supplemental contracts of Hilary Davis, in the amount of $800, and Tom Clark, in the amount of $1,200, for one-year terms to help manage the influx of students enrolling in MROLA as a result of the closing of ECOT.
• Approved the employment of the following substitute educational aides for the current school year on an as-needed basis: Jo DeMotte, Melanie Evans and Allison Mangun.
• Approved the employment of the following substitute teachers for the current school year on an as-needed basis: Amanda Ark, Randy Manns, Jo DeMotte and Allison Mangun.
• Approved a resolution in support of Ohio Senate Bill 216, also known as the “Public School Deregulation Act,” which intends to create more “flexibility” in Ohio law for school superintendents regarding teacher licensure and classroom assignments, qualifications for educational aide permits, substitutes and continuing contracts (tenure) for non-teaching employees.
• Approved the facility rental agreement with Sidney-Shelby County YMCA for spring parent project classes. The cost is $750, paid for by the 21st Century Grant. The Parent Project is a 10-week Shelby County Juvenile Court program, which aims to address destructive behaviors in adolescents by giving education and support to parents. The adolescents, whose parents are attending the course, will also attend a class within which they will explore alternatives to destructive behavior.
The next MRESC meeting will be at 6:30 p.m., March 15, in Hardin Northern Local School, 11589 state Route 81, Dola.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.