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Ovid-Elsie Board of Education votes not release second report in district fuel investigation

Kiah Longoria in front of the Ovid-Elsie Area Schools Board of Education
Posted at 11:56 PM, Sep 19, 2022

OVID-ELSIE, Mich. — The Ovid-Elsie Board of Education met Monday night and voted 6-1 to not release a report looking into whether school employees, besides former superintendent Ryan Cunningham, have used district fuel for their personal vehicles.

According to information obtained in a FOIA request, between April 11 and May 25, Cunningham used the district fuel pump for one of his four personal vehicles eight times, more than once a week.

Board of Education President Eric Jones declined an interview at the meeting but offered a statement to the crowd.

"Following the conclusion of the initial Recon fact-finding investigation, another concern was brought to the Board of Education, and it was decided to have Recon review the concern and determine whether any other employee engaged in this past practice," Jones said. "After Recon conducted several interviews with other individuals, Recon concluded that based upon a preponderance of the evidence, no other employee utilizes district fuel for their personal use."

Jones said the report is an investigator-client privilege document and can only be shared if the board agrees to release the report. He said because there was no board policy violation the report will not be released.

Dozens of people were in the audience, including members of the girls' basketball team, whose statement had nothing to do with other employees using district fuel, but rather bringing back the employee who did: Cunningham.

"A coach is someone who believes in your abilities even when you don't believe in yourself, someone who is motivating and positive," Kiah Longoria said. "A coach is someone you can trust and believe in. That is who Cunningham is to us."

"We as a team want Dr. Cunningham as our coach," Braeden Tokar said. "We want the community to support this decision because it's about us. It's about the commitment we have made to our school and basketball program, and we want Dr. Cunningham to be our coach so that he can continue to push us as he has."

Cunningham retired in August just months after the news broke that he had been using district fuel in his personal vehicles for the past 12 years.

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