Springboro Schools has achieved remarkable success and battled a deep divide over the past six years, as a changing cast of 13 school board members has overseen the district.
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First elected in 2009, Kohls also leads the Warren County Tea Party and has helped found Educate Ohio and the Ohio School Board Leadership Council, two conservative groups pushing for change and board member activism in public schools. Her term ends in January 2014.
Rigano and Petroni were the top two vote-getters two years ago, running on a two-person “Children First” ticket. Rigano, a chemical engineer, previously served on the board from 2002 to 2005. His term ends in January 2016.
Elected with Rigano two years ago, Petroni is in his first term in elected office. He consults on finance and public policy specializing in real estate. He and Rigano started and head up Educate Springboro, a local group that called for budget cuts by the board and opposed the failed levies school levies. His term ends in January 2016.
Appointed earlier this year, Kull, a Springboro High School graduate, works at a local bank. Kull has four children attending school in the district. She has indicated she will not be running for election.
In his second term, Miller is financial analyst and Air Force reservist. He has also indicated he will not seek a third term. His term ends in January 2014.
Four years with the Springboro school board
In 2009, the Springboro school board cut 30 employees and closed an elementary school in making cuts valued at $3 million. Voters rejected four consecutive levies for new money. A performance audit by the Ohio Auditor of State’s Office suggested deeper cuts estimated to reduce the projected 2012 deficit from $65 million to $29 million.
November 2009 Kelly Kohls is elected as the top vote-getter in the board election. District voters also reject a fourth consecutive levy for new operating money.
April 2010 Superintendent David Baker and Treasurer Tim Dettwiller resign.
May 2010 The local teachers union accuses Kohls of bullying teachers at a teacher appreciation luncheon in violation of collective bargaining laws. Board President Craig Colston resigns, citing frustrations over division on the board and failure of four levies for new operating money.
November 2010 Voters reject an additional five year, 6.83 mill levy, the fifth to be rejected in two and half years.
July 2011 Kohls proposed including creationism as supplemental curriculum, triggering opposition locally and from the ACLU and Freedom From Religion Foundation. The proposal was shelved.
August 2011 The board reinstated high school busing and cuts fees, two changes Kohls had lobbied for.
January 2012 Board Members David Petroni and Jim Rigano are elected on a two-person ticket after forming a reform group, Educate Springboro.
March 2012 Kohls, Rigano and Petroni absent as the board retains Ron Malone as high school principal following community campaign
April 2012 Superintendent Gene Lolli resigns, citing a difference of opinion with the board. He is one of four of the district’s five administrators who leave the district during this period.
August 2012 Board President Scott Anderson resigns from the board. Kohls takes over as the board’s leadership.
October 2012 Springboro resident Tammy Grisgby filed a lawsuit accusing the board of denying her the job due to her levy activities. Lolli later supported her claims in an affidavit.
May 2013 Board draws nationwide attention after proposing to include creationism in a list of controversial topics suitable for discussion by the district’s students, again drawing opposition from the residents and the ACLU. The idea is tabled.
June 2013 Board takes first step toward seeking renewal of property tax levy. A parent calls for Kohls to resign at a board meeting where the board is criticized for proposing holding summer seminars that critics say would put a religious spin on the U.S. Constitution at Springboro High School. The idea is shelved and one course is set up at a local church.
July 2013 Board and teachers reach tentative agreement on contract. Board roll backs amount sought in renewal levy despite opposition from political action committee that has led previous levy campaigns.