Rock Hill problem needs addressed now

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 20, 2004

Tribune editorial staff

As clich\u00E9 as it may sound, a house divided can't stand. Likewise, a school board divided can't stand.

This seems to be the current case with the Rock Hill Local Board of Education, particularly when dealing with the current issue of the position of superintendent. To make matters even more confusing, the school board approved a resolution Tuesday night asking the Lawrence County Educational Service Center Board to supervise activities in the district until a new superintendent is hired. Last week, the board replaced Lloyd Evans, whose contract as superintendent may or may not have been non-renewed, with Lawrence County Superintendent Harold Shafer on an interim basis.

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Because Shafer is currently the county superintendent, the county prosecutor's office advised the Rock Hill board that the entire board should be included in the operations of the school district until a permanent replacement is found.

Who is in charge, the local board or the county board? That depends on who you ask. If a disagreement arises, who has the final say?

It seems to be quite ambiguous. The law, and the interpretations we have heard the past few days have not made it much clearer. Some say the county board is acting as advisors to the local board while others say the local board has no authority right now and all decisions concerning the school district will be made by the county board.

It's difficult to say who is right, but one thing is for certain: this mess has to be cleaned up immediately. The best way to start, we feel, is to seek guidance from the Ohio Attorney General's Office or the Ohio School Boards Association.

Leaving the fate of a school board in limbo for any period of time could be detrimental to the students and employees of the district. Letting this issue drag on will bring nothing but more frustrations and problems.

We feel the best start would be for the Rock Hill Board of Education to put all differences aside, join together and resolve this problem. If board members continue to bicker with one another, this situation will keep snowballing beyond control.