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Published: Wednesday, 10/16/2002

Sylvania principal to keep position

Toni Gerber, principal of Central Elementary School, will remain in that position, according to an order filed yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Mrs. Gerber had filed a lawsuit challenging a transfer by Sylvania school officials to assistant principal at McCord Junior High School for this school year. She'd been principal at Central for 13 years.

Judge William Skow agreed with Mrs. Gerber's assertion that the transfer to McCord was to a position of “lesser responsibility,'' which is prohibited by Ohio law and by her contract, unless she had agreed to the transfer.

School officials argued that the positions were similar in responsibility, in part, because the McCord student body is older and that disciplinary problems are likely to be more serious.

The school board noted in court that the events that led to her transfer were begun because of a note from one of her doctors in June that said Mrs. Gerber should not return to the Central building.

The building was closed shortly after the beginning of last school year after several pupils and teachers complained of rashes and respiratory ailments. Mrs. Gerber was among those who complained of a lingering sinus infection and other respiratory problems.

The pupils were transferred to other sites and Mrs. Gerber visited those sites daily while the building at Central Avenue and King Road was cleaned. The building was reopened in April.

In July, Mrs. Gerber told school officials she was able to return to her job at Central and later that month gave them a letter from a physician clearing her for that assignment. She also provided a letter from her allergist stating that she could return to Central.

Superintendent Les Schultz said yesterday that he hadn't seen the decision and couldn't comment directly on it, other than to say that the school system would follow the court's order.

Mrs. Gerber has been serving as principal of the school since a preliminary order issued by Judge Skow early last month.

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