Tipp City group drops lawsuits to fire two school board members

TIPP CITY – A citizen’s group that sought the legal suspension of two members of the Tipp City School Board in a lawsuit that has dragged on for more than a year dropped the lawsuit on Tuesday.

Concerned citizens of the city of Tipp filed a notice of dismissal of their complaint without prejudice in the Miami County Court of Common Pleas. The dismissal reserves the right to file a claim in the future.

The surprise layoff comes after a court hearing was scheduled for October on jurisdictional issues related to an attempt to remove Teresa Dunaway and Ann Zakkur from the board of directors.

The complaint was filed in late 2021 after board members rejected calls for them to resign. The complaint was filed along with petitions containing more than 1,000 signatures from registered voters in the Tipp City Exempted Village school district.

The complaint alleged that Zakkur and Dunaway acted in a willful and blatant manner, using power and authority; are involved in refusal or willful neglect of the observance of the law and the performance of their duties; exceeded the limits of their duties and powers; and has demonstrated gross disregard, misconduct and/or dereliction of duty.

Dunaway and Zakkur deny any wrongdoing and did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

In the resignation letter, the Society of Concerned Citizens of Tipp cited legal delays over the past 15 months, as well as concerns about the impact of ongoing litigation on the school district’s needs, the November three-seat council election, and the district’s efforts to educate its employees. children.

Concerned citizens said they thought the removal should happen, but time got in the way.

“After the judge set a trial date for October 2023, it became clear that there was little chance of the court reaching a final ruling on the merits before December 31, 2023,” the organization wrote, noting the deadlines for Zakkour and Dunaway expire at the end of of the year.

Three seats on the board of education are included in the November bulletin. These places are now occupied by Zakkur, Dunaway and Simon Patry. Candidates hoping to run in the November election must apply to the Miami County Election Commission by August 9.

“It makes sense for our community to focus on the big issues facing our school system. We need strong, capable candidates to run for school council,” said Doug Cook, member of Tipp City Concerned Citizens.

The court case was originally assigned to Miami County Judge Jannine Pratt, who in April 2022 recused herself and asked the Ohio Supreme Court to appoint a circuit judge. In June, Judge William Wolf, a retired judge of the Court of Appeal, was appointed.

“We have agreed that it is not financially responsible or in the best interest of our community to continue the lawsuit to remove Dunaway and Zakkur,” said Karen Kaibas, another Citizens Concerned member.

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