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2 more staff members will not be returning to Ovid-Elsie Area Schools this fall

Ovid-Elsie Area Schools
Posted at 9:49 PM, Aug 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-11 21:49:48-04

OVID-ELSIE, Mich. — The list of staff members leaving Ovid-Elsie Area Schools this year just got a little longer.

It was announced earlier this week that the district's Athletic Director Jesse Johnson, and its Director of Operations Craig Coleman will both not be returning to Ovid-Elsie this school year.

Ryan Cunningham, the district's superintendent who just announced his own retirement, wrote in a statement to FOX 47 News, "This year we had two teacher retirements and three resignations. Our high school assistant principal submitted his retirement in February along with our media center specialist, a school secretary retired, two paraprofessionals resigned, two paraprofessionals retired and a bus driver retired."

Cunningham continued, "Most recently our athletic director accepted a new position closer to home and to his family, and it is a position that he will earn around 30% more, and our director of operations resigned to take another position in another district that also pays nearly 30% more."

Regarding Cunningham's retirement before age 50, he said it is not related to the recent controversy surrounding the turf football field and use of district fuel.

Cunningham wrote in part, "I applied for official retirement and did not 'resign' my position as superintendent, but did in fact 'retire.' It is important for me to make that distinction because I have been contemplating retirement for a couple years now and have applied for other positions."

Cunningham said he does not want his retirement linked to any controversy.

He wrote in part, "My original retirement plan was to be done at my '30 year mark,' which was last June, however, with the projects that were on the horizon, such as solar and the remainder of the bond scope, I wanted to see those things through to ensure their completion."

To some of the public's assertions that the investigation into Cunningham's district fuel use was not thorough enough, Board President Eric Jones wrote in a statement to FOX 47 News, "Recon Management conducted several fact-finding interviews and reviewed Board policies to determine whether Dr. Cunningham violated any Board policies. In addition, local law enforcement officials were contacted, but no action was taken at that time."

Jones said after law enforcement officials were contacted in June and Recon completed its investigation, the board released the report to the public, "in the spirit of transparency," and contends that it was a thorough investigation.

Jones also said that the board asserts that it has taken all protective measures to stop this past practice from recurring.

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Russell Shellberg

5:49 PM, Jun 03, 2022

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