LeRoy-Ostrander heading in new direction with leadership

Published 8:59 am Wednesday, January 9, 2019

LEROY— After months of unknowns and controversy, the LeRoy-Ostrander School District may soon see the end of the investigation of two high school coaches, according to Jerry Reshetar, interim superintendent.

Monday night marked the first meeting where Reshetar sat in as the new interim superintendent, after the superintendent sharing agreement with Southland Schools had ended, thus relieving former L-O Superintendent Jeff Sampson’s duties in the district.

Parents, teachers and staff reacted positively to Reshetar’s appointment, and saw it as a step in the right  direction for a district that had been in turmoil since the investigation of Principal Aaron Hungerholt and fifth grade teacher Trevor Carrier, the circumstances of which haven’t been made public, and had been a source of contention among community members regarding the district’s lack of information.

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“Thank you for making a change,” said Dave Lunning, LeRoy resident and former school board member. “It feels so good to have a man that is trustworthy and of high integrity sitting in that chair. Our whole affair since October isn’t completely over yet. …Aaron and Trevor have been punished enough.”

Others also acknowledged the change in the leadership, but were still calling for Justin Kennedy, school board chairman, to step down from his position and resign from the school board after the submission of a petition including  200 signatures.

“We’re very thankful you stepped in to turn this mess around,” said Kyle Stern, a LeRoy resident. “This investigation is garbage. Aaron and Trevor have been dragged through the dirt. We’re asking you, Justin, to step down from school board. …Let’s put a rest to this tonight.”

During the organizational meeting, there were several changes made to the leadership of the school board, as well as some key moments:

• Board member Steve Kasel was nominated and voted in as the new L-O School Board chairman, as well as Tim Lewison as the vice chairman. Two new members were sworn-in, including Cassidy Milks and Teresa Frazer.

• Kasel asked for the chair to receive the same $35 per diem rate as the rest of the school board, as opposed to being paid $400 per meeting the original rate was set at, which meant no extra compensation.

• Reshetar asked for consolidation of multiple committees into one long-range planning committee, which would oversee the future direction of the L-O district, noting the success of a similar committee in other districts Reshetar worked.

• The Long-Term Superintendent Search Committee was established.

While new committees were being established, Kasel addressed Kennedy about joining committees, despite the petition hanging over him.

“I don’t want to get argumentative,” Kasel said to Kennedy. “But, if you’re going to be serving on committees and such, shouldn’t you get the petition resolved?”

“I know what my future is,” Kennedy responded.  “It’ll be over tomorrow.”

After more than an hour spent in closed session, Reshetar indicated to the press that there was a “resolution” once he had the chance to talk to both Hungerholt and Carrier about the overall situation. There may be one more special sessionin order for this case to be resolved completely, according to the L-O School Board.

“I think in this closed meeting, we came to a resolution on how we can solve this issue,” he said. “I just need to talk to the two individuals (Tuesday) and sort through specifics, and then I think we can get it resolved fairly quickly.”

Lunning asked if it was possible for the school board to issue a public apology to Carrier and Hungerholt and publicly clear them both of what they were accused. Kasel stated that it’s possible to receive a statement once the conflict is resolved.