The Loveland School Board unanimously passed a resolution appointing Kevin Dougherty and Eric Schwestshenau as new members of the BOE

By Chuck Gibson 

LOVELAND, OH (May 12, 2020) – The unanimous approval of Kevin Dougherty and Eric Schwetschenau as new members of the LCSD Board of Education (Terms to expire December 31, 2021) fills the vacancies created by the sudden resignation of board members Art Jarvis and Ned Portune Thursday, April 30.

Loveland City School District Board of Education live-stream meeting Tuesday, May 12, 2020 (Chuck Gibson) 

The Loveland School Board President Dr. Kathryn Lorenz with board members Eileen Washburn and Michelle Pettit spoke with 34 interested candidates during virtual meetings May 6-8. During the meeting scheduled for Tuesday, May 12, the board went into executive session before returning to the public meeting via “Zoom” livestreaming on YouTube. Upon return, with all three members of the BOE present along with LCSD Superintendent Dr. Amy Crouse and LCSD Treasurer Kevin Hawley, Dr. Lorenz read a statement regarding the procedure and timing for appointment of board members to fill the vacancies caused by the resignations. 

“This is not the way I would choose to handle the announcement of candidates, but the two resignations on April 30, set in motion a timeline that resulted in appointments required to be made at this meeting,” said Lorenz. “At the next scheduled meeting, according to Ohio law this board must fill the two vacancies caused by the resigations of Art Jarvis and Ned Portune”

The policy states the board must seek qualified individuals and interview all those with stated interest. Following the announcement of the resignations and seeking to fill the vacancies as required by Ohio law, the board received 36 letters with two subsequently withdrawing their names from consideration. As a result, Lorenz, Washburn & Pettit spoke with each of 34 individuals interested. 

Dr. Kathryn Lorenz, President LCSD Board of Education (Provided)

“We are very appreciative of the diverse, talented, and motivated Loveland citizens who proposed their candidacy for a position that wil support and improve the Loveland City School District,” Lorenz said. “In these unusual times, it is reassuring that there are so many people willing to be public servants.”

Lorenz went on to explain they heard both commendations and criticism during the interview process. They asked questions and heard questions as well as listening to analysis including advice to avoid conducting business in an echo chamber. Candidates also advised them to “concentrate on renewing the sense the Loveland School District is the heart of the Loveland community. There was discussion aobut the past, but also how to move forward. The board also heard from community members about what kind of candidate should be chosen. They heard recommendations for specific candidates. During the process of evaluating the candidates, the Governor announced state budget cuts to education making the financial situation of the LCSD even more difficult. 

“We talked with candidates about the effects those cuts will have,” said Lorenz. “It was an arduous process, but it was a valuable one. We consider it to be our very important responsibility. We hope the talented people who were not chosen will continue to be engaged with the district and the tasks of the Board of Education and will seek ways to contribute and use their expertise to the advantage of Loveland students.” 

Lorenz also stated many of the candidates not chosen have expressed a desire to run for election to the board in 2021. Following the reading of that statement, Lorenz introduced the motion to appoint Kevin Dougherty (Retired from Kroger in 2017 as Chief Digital Officer) and Eric Schwetschenau (practicing physician) to the Loveland City School District Board of Education to fill vacant terms to expire on December 31, 2021. The motion was seconded by Eileen Washburn. The official motion was read into record and followed by opportunity for discussion or comment by members of the board. 

Eileen Washburn, LCSD Board of Education (Chuck Gibson File) 

“I would like to thank everybody who applied,” said Washburn. “It was great to hear from people and have so many qualified people step up. I thank Kevin and Eric and look forward to working with you to help do positive great things for the kids in our community.”

Michelle Pettit also commented on the quality and number of candidates who showed interest in serving on the Loveland  BOE. “I just want to say thank you to everyone for showing interest,” said Pettit. “It made it difficult for us to come to a decision because of all the qualified people who did apply. Just thank you to everyone who took the time to interview. It was a pleasure talking to every one of you.” 

Washburn affirmed Pettit’s comment and added the candidate pool was very strong. Superintendent Crouse concluded the comments extending words of welcome and enthusiasm toward working with both Dougherty and Schwetcheenau as they become voting members of the Loveland City School District Board of Education.  

Michelle Pettit, LCSD Board of Education(Chuck Gibson File) 

Following the comments and discussion, a vote was called by Kevin Hawley receiving unanimous approval from Eileen Washburn, Dr. Lorenz and Michelle Pettit. Kevin Dougherty and Eric Schwetschenau will both be sworn in at the May 28 business meeting for terms ending on December 31, 2021. A motion for adjournment was carried and the LCSD Board of Education meeting Tuesday, May 12 came to a close. 

There is one additional noteworthy piece to the story. During the course of the evening meeting, the livestream video on YouTube was lost for some period of time while the board was in executive session. The video was restored via a new link and the meeting was available to the public on YouTube as the board members returned from the executive session. No action was taken during the loss of the video link.  

The following information regarding action taken earlier during the BOE meeting Tuesday, May 12, was released by the Loveland City School District, Chief Information Officer Susanne Quigley: 

Due to the budget cuts necessitated by the failure of the operating levy on the March ballot, the board approved a resolution to eliminate high school transportation for students attending the district’s schools and community or other non-public schools. It also passed a resolution to eliminate staff positions through Reduction in Force (RIF) – a process that is conducted per Ohio Revised Code and Master Agreement timelines for notice and board action. Employees will be released at the end of the current school year with consideration to certification, contract, and seniority. The board is expected to take action on remaining RIFs at the May 28 board business meeting.

The board accepted the retirement of Robin Wiley, who has served as the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources since August 2017, and thanked her for her leadership. The recommendations for reorganization of the administrative team to accommodate the reductions identified both on the $2.7 million original cut list and those necessitated by the failure of the operating levy will be presented once new board members have been sworn in.

Click here for more on Loveland Schools