Explanation Of Payout Needed

Someone made a mistake, or the Buckeye Local Board of Education would not be paying out $70,000 to make a lawsuit go away. Taxpayers have a right to know what happened.

During their meeting Monday night, board members agreed to pay Angela Hicks $70,000. She had been director of federal programs for the district, then a teacher.

Last October, Hicks filed a lawsuit against the district. She alleged school officials had not followed proper procedure in handling a reduction in force — essentially, a layoff of some school employees.

Under Monday’s agreement, Hicks will receive the $70,000 and will resign as a school system employee. The deal also calls for her to drop her lawsuit.

Finally, the agreement states Hicks did not engage in conduct that would require the district to file a report with the Ohio Department of Education.

No explanation for any of this was offered in public. The board did meet behind closed doors for a time.

School Superintendent Kim Leonard said no comments would be made because “the district is currently involved in litigation…” Once that — presumably, the Hicks lawsuit — is resolved, “it will be public record and the district may comment at that time,” Leonard added.

A full explanation needs to be provided.

If school officials did not handle a reduction in force legally, it could have ramifications beyond the Hicks situation.

Whatever the explanation, the bottom line is that Buckeye Local schools are out $70,000. That is money that could have gone to educate children in the district. Taxpayers deserve to know what went wrong.