PIQUA — The Upper Valley Career Center Board of Education approved a separation agreement with a teacher Monday night during is regularly scheduled meeting.
During its September meeting, the board voted to suspend Mark Lester of Tipp City without pay and to initiate termination proceedings.
Lester, formerly a full-time automotive technologies teacher and as-needed special projects/maintenance worker at the school, was dismissed from both positions when the board unanimously passed — without comment — a resolution referencing Lester’s June 21, 2017, conviction for assault.
Lester had pladed guilty in Miami County Municipal Court. He had been charged with a first-degree misdemeanor assault for, according to court documents, “while intoxicated, punching his wife multiple times in the face.” When police arrived at the scene, he answered the door with a gun in his hand. He put the gun down when police told him to do so, court records show.
Lester was sentenced to one year of probation and counseling sessions. He also had to give his firearms to his father. In addition, he received a sentence of 180 days’ jail time, which was suspended.
UVCC Superintendent Dr. Nancy Luce had written to Lester, Aug. 9, to inform him that pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 3319.39(B)(1), she planned to recommend that the board terminate his non-teaching contracts and initiate termination of his teaching contract. That code section states “no board of education of a school district, no governing board of an educational service center, and no governing authority of a chartered nonpublic school shall employ a person if the person previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to any of the following.” Among the following list of code sections was the one concerning assault.
In other news, Luce also was approved for continued employment from Aug. 1, 2018, through July 31, 2021, along with other staff members.
The board also discussed the 2017 Report Card, highlighting that from the class of 2016, 98.1 percent graduated from high school, 96.3 percent were employed, enrolled in post-secondary training, serving in the military and/or working as apprentices within nine months following graduation, and more than one third earned industry credentials.
The board then approved tuition reimbursements for staff, accepted donations and approved a one-time lump sum payment of $1,500 for all regular full-time and regular part-time staff members that were employed in the Adult Division during the 2016-2017 contract year.
The next board of education meeting will be at 6 p.m. Nov. 27 in the Adams Board Room.