Tuesday, May 16, 2000

Rancor on school board

Session canceled

By Andrea Tortora
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Covington's school board was to hold a special meeting today to talk about possible action regarding member ethics and behavior.

        Then, late Monday, the meeting was scrapped.

        Board members said they were not given a reason by Chairman Hensley Jemmott for the cancellation.

        Mr. Jemmott said he decided it would be better to address those issues in another way.

        “We decided we could do that business better in a meeting other than a special meeting,” Mr. Jemmott said.

        Board attorney Gerald Dusing said he thought the meeting was canceled because at least two board members had prior commitments today.

        The meeting was called May 11 by Mr. Jemmott without consulting board members. That poses a problem, member Jim Vogt said.

        “The kind of meeting that was envisioned was an attempt to talk about our interactions with one another and to agree on discipline and behavior that would allow us to work together more cooperatively,” Mr. Vogt said. “To discuss an issue like that, all of the key players need to be present.”

        Members Joseph Meyer and Col Owens said at a May 8 budget meeting they could not attend any special meetings this week.

        Mr. Jemmott called the special meeting the same day he and Assistant Superintendent David Craig met with principals and assistant principals.

        “The less said about that meeting the better,” Mr. Jemmott said.

        Principals contacted Monday by The Cincinnati Enquirer said they had no comment about that meeting.

        Board members said they did not know exactly what the meeting was supposed to be about, other than what was stated on the agenda: “Discussion of board member ethics and behavior. Develop board member discipline (action possible).”

        Also Monday, board members expressed surprise at several items included in the agenda book for Thursday's regular meeting:

        • Last week, board members asked Mr. Jemmott to forego any “presentations” Thursday so board members would have time to address three important action items: the budget, salary schedules and the school calendar. Instead, the agenda includes five presentations.

        • Board members said at the April 20 meeting they wanted to discuss Superintendent James Kemp's contract renewal Thursday. That item is not on the agenda. Mr. Jemmott has said he would not put the item on the agenda at this time.

        • Detailed minutes from the April 20 meeting include a blow-by-blow of a discussion regarding a motion by board member Mike Fitzgerald to apologize to the public for comments made by a district employee at a previous meeting. Board members said this is the first time they have received such a transcript in the minutes.

        The board is scheduled to meet 7:30 p.m. Thursday at board offices on Seventh Street in Covington.


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