Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Board leader decries opposition

Letter accuses group of hypocrisy, grandstanding

By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

DEERFIELD TWP. - The president of Kings School Board is speaking out against the treasurer of a group that opposed the Kings bond issue, calling her repeated outspokenness at board meetings a "pattern of public grandstanding."

"I find a great deal of hypocrisy in your actions, and I have decided to let it go no further," president Konrad Kircher wrote in a June 18 letter, which states it was not written on behalf of the rest of the board. "You preach accountability and openness to the board, but you practice neither."

The two-page letter was sent by certified mail last week to Kim Grant, treasurer of Kings Parents for Education. The small group, composed of an unknown number of parents and community members, formed in February in opposition to the $43 million price for a proposed junior-senior high.

Even after the 4.5-mill bond issue failed in May, Grant and other group members have been regular meeting attendees, telling the board it need to be more open and accountable to the public.

"I find this letter very disturbing," said Grant, who picked up the letter at the post office late Friday. "But I'm not prepared at this time to respond to him and this letter."

She did not want to comment further.

Kircher says that despite the group's requests for openness, it refuses to answer his questions, which he's raised at previous meetings. In the letter, he asks Grant to respond to seven questions - including how large the group is, when meetings are and if the group has ever authorized her to speak on its behalf - by the August board meeting

Grant did not answer those questions during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon, and referred to her earlier statement. She has said at other public meetings that it did not matter how large the group is.

Kircher said Tuesday that he decided to write the letter after last week's board meeting. He says Grant's questions are "mainly rhetorical ... to further your personal agenda."

He also has publicly questioned group members during meetings.

"They claim to have free speech rights - I have a right to free speech, too," Kircher said Tuesday afternoon. "I'm no longer going to sit there and accept a fraud and hypocrisy. They're trying to mislead the public and I'm not going to let them do that."


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