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Debate flares at Symmes Valley

AID TOWNSHIP — The Symmes Valley Board of Education Monday night gave transportation director Jeff Dial a new, continuous contract, but the agreement was not without debate.

The vote on the contract was 3-2, with members Mike Wall, Wayne Taylor and John Kelley voting in the affirmative and fellow members Brian Pancake and Kim Turner voting against the measure.

Turner said he has nothing personal against Dial, but his concern is that Dial’s position is administrative and he is therefore not entitled to a continuous contract.

“You can’t give a transportation director or anyone who directs or disciplines a continuous contract,” Turner said. “This (responsibility) puts them into an administrative position.”

Kelley and superintendent Tom Ben both said Dial does not function in a disciplinary role on his own and therefore qualifies for a continuous contract, having already completed a one-year agreement and a two-year agreement with the school system.

“The board does all the hiring,” Kelley said. “He might recommend, but he doesn’t get any say so.”

Turner disagreed.

“If hiring and firing is what makes you a supervisor, then our superintendent isn’t a supervisor either,” Turner said.

Turner also said he does not understand why Dial has been given a full-time job as transportation director, when that job was once done part-time for less money.

Bus driver Tonnia Meadows agreed with Turner.

“He has always been referred to as our supervisor,” Meadows said. “He has disciplined people in the past.”

Ben and Kelley said school officials did seek a legal opinion from an attorney before giving Dial the contract, to make sure the move was legal.

Ben said Dial was given the contract deservedly, because he works well with bus drivers and has made transportation safety one of his chief priorities.

Turner said he did not know what action would be taken on the matter but said he and others are researching their options. He said he wished more people would attend school board meetings.