CUYAHOGA HEIGHTS, Ohio– Abuse of power and misuse of taxpayer money. Those are the strong allegations being brought up in the Cuyahoga Heights Local School District.
The public claims the growing battle is overshadowing students’ ability to learn.
Looking more like a political rally than school board meeting, they came holding signs. One read, “It should be about the kids, not your political agenda.”
That message being sent to school board president Dr. Holly Thacker and board member Tim Oden. Both are being asked to resign from their positions immediately.
“I want to go back to a state of normalcy where the community doesn’t feel like it’s divided because they’ve got somebody up there making decisions that aren’t good for our school district,” parent Lance Zink said.
Thacker, who works at the Cleveland Clinic, is accused of using her work email to conduct school business. She and Oden are also accused of being behind the ouster of an employee of the district’s treasurer, after that person allegedly threatened to report financial wrongdoing.
“They started a $33,000 private investigation. That investigation was never discussed publicly and it was never voted on publicly. They used public funds in order to fund that investigation,” Zink said.
Things got heated between Thacker and fellow member Gary Suchocki, who questioned the doctor’s move to change the normal 7 p.m. board meeting time to 7 a.m., in an effort to quell public criticism.
Still, one by one, residents staunchly voiced their concerns, including newly-elected board member Lyndie Schuckert.
“This is not OK. The board is a reflection of our school district, the board of education. We are part of that leadership team. So if we’re allowing our board president to do just whatever she wants, it’s as much our fault, as it is everyone else’s,” Schuckert said.
Parents are in the process of hiring an attorney and filing papers to get the petitions needed to force the board members to resign, if they don’t remove themselves.
Thacker told FOX 8 accusations she used her work email to conduct school business are false. She also fought back against the idea a forensic audit of the school’s books was a waste of money and violated sunshine laws. Thacker said the audit was valuable and exposed financial weaknesses, which the board is now correcting.