Agreements ratified in complaints against SCS

By Melanie Speicher - [email protected]

COLUMBUS — Four complaints filed by former Sidney City Schools have been resolved.

The Ohio Civil Rights Commission — during its November meeting — ratified the conciliation agreement and consent order for the cases filed by ShaRhonda Johnson, Erika Foster-Wheeler, Tiffani Foy and Jayne Evans.

Johnson, Foster-Wheeler and Foy were all aides with the school district. Evans was the district’s psychologist.

According to the settlement, each of the aides will receive $5,000 for non-economic damage awards and attorney fees. Each person will receive one check for the amount of $3,334 and one check per case will go to attorney Jason P. Matthews in the amount of $1,666 from the school district.

The document states that all parties have entered into the agreement to resolve the issue without the need for further litigation. The agreement “does not constitute an admission by the respondent of any violation of Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4112. Likewise, this agreement does not constitute an admission by the complainants or the commission that the allegations at issue are without merit. The parties simply wish to resolve this matter to effectuate the purposes of the Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4112 and avoid the further expense and delay that would result from continued legal proceedings.”

The agreement stipulates that within one year of the ratification, the district’s superintendent, human resources/assistant superintendent, director of special education and all school principals will attend a training on Ohio’s fair employment laws, with an emphasis on age, race and national origin discrimination. The school district will be responsible for any costs associated with the training.

All training materials will be sent to the commission’s general counsel for preapproval. When the training is complete, a notarized sign-in sheet documenting the name and job title attesting to the attendance of the participants will be submitted to the commission.

In the settlement of Evans’ age discrimination case, the school district will pay her a lump sum of $35,520 for nonwage and noneconomic damaged. The district will also pay her attorney Jason Matthews a lump sum of $17,760.

While the Evans complaint was ratified, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission notified her that they are investigating a charge of sex discrimination that she filed. The lead investigator will notify the school district of the investigation and ask for a written response to the allegations.

Evans alleges the district violated the Age Discrimination Employment Act, a federal statue.

When contacted about how much the district had spent on attorney fees since the complaints were filed, Treasurer Mike Watkins said he is currently working on that figure for a public records request.

Superintendent Bob Humble had no comment on the commission’s ratification of the conciliation agreement and consent order.

The complaints were originally filed in March 2021 after the aide contracts were non-renewed because of a reduction in force during the board of education’s May 18, 2020 meeting. There were originally 14 complaints filed and the Ohio Civil Rights Commission dismissed 10 of them.

Evans’ contract was suspended at the June 15, 2020, meeting.

By Melanie Speicher

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.