After a nearly two-hour executive session, the Board of Education of the Mount Vernon (Ohio) City School District tonight voted by a 4-1 margin to terminate the teaching contract of John Freshwater. I’ll have a copy of the resolution of termination later, but it was very short. It was read by the mover, Paula Barone, in so soft a voice that my digital recorder didn’t pick it up.
There was essentially no public discussion by the Board after the executive session and little before it. What little discussion there was before the executive session was generated by Steve Thompson, Board member and public Freshwater supporter. Thompson said that he had recused himself from deliberations on the federal litigation (though not from administrative hearing deliberations) on advice from attorneys David Millstone and Sarah Moore (as had Barone), and he wanted to know what was different that allowed Barone to withdraw her self-recusal regarding administrative hearing matters. Thompson said “I find a tremendous amount of hypocrisy in that decision.” The President of the Board, Dr. Margie Bennett, noted that in her letter of recusal Barone had said that various legal advisers, including those from the Ohio School Boards Association, had told her she had no ethical issue with participating in the matter, and Bennett affirmed that Barone had the right to withdraw her recusal. Barone said it was her right and her responsibility to participate in the deliberations.
With that the Board went into executive session, to emerge an hour and forty-five minutes later and adopt the termination resolution. Unless Freshwater elects to appeal to the Knox County Court of Common Pleas, the first step on the state court ladder, that ends this sorry affair.