The Rossford Board of Education will vote next week on its next superintendent, but the board appears to have already made its decision.
Daniel Creps, principal of Perrysburg’s Woodland Elementary who grew up in Rossford and graduated from Rossford High School, is the board’s choice as superintendent, according to a news release issued Tuesday.
The board “made its decision to hire Daniel Creps as superintendent,” the release says. Mr. Creps has signed a two-year contract, his start date will be April 1, and the board will “approve and introduce Mr. Creps officially” at a meeting on Monday.
The announcement follows a special meeting on Monday, though the board took no formal action to select Mr. Creps. Instead, the board met in closed session to discuss the appointment of an employee.
“We’ve all agreed that this is who we would like to hire as our superintendent,” board President Dawn Burks said.
The other candidate was Deb Piotrowski, superintendent of Xenia Community Schools, east of Dayton. Both candidates toured the district and had meet-and-greets with staff and citizens.
Because the board took no formal action, it is not clear when it exactly decided on Mr. Creps.
Ms. Burks argued that the board did not violate Ohio’s Open Meetings Law by deciding on Mr. Creps and offering him a contract because it hasn’t formally acted on his employment. She later walked back from the definitive tone about the board’s decision on Mr. Creps in the board’s statement and her own comments, saying that an informal poll never had been taken among board members and that the board didn’t truly “decide” on Mr. Creps.
Instead, she said, that was just the feel she got for the direction of the board during the closed meeting.
“It might just be the semantics in how it was presented,” she said.
Ms. Burks said the contract with Mr. Creps, which will pay him $115,000 a year, was negotiated with Mr. Creps last week and over the weekend. Ms. Burks said the board did not direct her to negotiate with Mr. Creps.
“If you don’t have an agreement with the contract, how would you know to present it?” she said.
On that point, she drew support from the Ohio School Boards Association. Hollie Reedy, chief legal counsel for the association, said she believed it was legally possible for a representative from a school board to negotiate with a superintendent candidate to ensure that person was interested in the terms the board was willing to offer.
However, Ms. Reedy wouldn’t comment specifically on Rossford.
“I can’t opine without specific knowledge of the facts,” Ms. Reedy said.
This isn’t the first time during Rossford’s search for a new superintendent that the board apparently has tried to shield part of the process from public view.
When the board narrowed its candidates down to four finalists in February, The Blade asked Lisa Spotts, district communications liaison, for the names of the finalists.
Ms. Spotts declined on Feb. 7 to provide the names, citing Ms. Burks’ position that the names not be made public at that time.
“At this point we’d like to keep it confidential because of the fact that many of the candidates are possibly looking at other districts and keeping things private,” Ms. Burks had told Blade media partner WTVG-TV, Channel 13, earlier that week.
The Blade protested and told Ms. Spotts that the names of the candidates were clearly public record. A representative from OSBA — which was conducting the superintendent search for Rossford — later provided the names and resumes of the four finalists.
Ms. Burks later tried to dissuade The Blade from reporting the names.
This week is Sunshine Week, a “national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information.”
Staff writer Carl Ryan contributed to this report.
Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6086, or on Twitter @NolanRosenkrans.