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Group readies bid to oust school board



Published: Sat, August 4, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The group believes the board mishandled the health crisis at the intermediate school.

By TIM YOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

GIRARD -- A parents group says it has more than enough signatures to petition the court in an effort to remove the Girard Board of Education.

Cathy Ross, president of Girard Concerned Citizens, said Friday the group has more than the required 555 signatures to file with Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.

Petitions weren't filed Friday as planned, Ross explained, because the group's attorney was out of town, and a delay allows more time to gather signatures.

The group is making the attempt at removal because it doesn't believe the five-member board has properly handled health issues at Girard Intermediate School.

Once the petitions are filed with the court, the procedure is similar to a civil case, as opposed to a recall effort that is determined by voters.

Transfer: The group is also irked with the transfer of Robert Foley as principal of the intermediate school to principal of the junior high school.

Foley filed a $2 million lawsuit Monday against the school board and former superintendent Anthony D'Ambrosio, seeking to stop the transfer.

Richard Ragozine, board president, has said Foley's transfer was not a demotion because Foley alerted parents of health problems at the intermediate building. Earlier this year, the district had to close the intermediate school and conduct environmental tests after several pupils became ill.

Ragozine said the school administration has the right to transfer administrators, noting Foley received his pay and a bonus. Also, the board president approved the letter Foley sent to parents.

Evaluation: In D'Ambrosio's evaluation of Foley after the last school year, the superintendent said Foley needed improvement in five of about 70 areas. The remainder are either outstanding or satisfactory marks.

D'Ambrosio wrote that Foley did a "great job" in special education and its funding. "Your devotion to your job is to be commended," he wrote.

Criticism: Foley was criticized for spending too much time on the job, and D'Ambrosio suggested he let others help him.

D'Ambrosio called on Foley to be more team oriented.

The evaluation asserts that Foley made several comments that were inappropriate to the press and parents concerning the intermediate school's environment.

"It was quite obvious that you had difficulty in dealing with a crisis situation. As the building principal, you did not give the appearance that you were in control, which allowed others to perceive that they needed to take control of the situation," the superintendent asserted.

Foley was also criticized for being too cooperative with the staff, which has in turn taken advantage of him.

In his lawsuit, Foley charged that D'Ambrosio, who has since taken another job, didn't want parents to be notified that environmental tests had begun at the school.

The letter was sent to parents March 26. The building was closed May 1.

yovich@vindy.com




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