HILLIARD, Ohio (WCMH) — The Hilliard Education Association has declared a vote of no confidence against three school board members it said violated board policies during a contentious September meeting.
Linna Jordan, president of the Hilliard Education Association, said the policy and conduct violations mainly stem from a Sept. 12 school board meeting where several hot topics were discussed — from LGBTQ support badges to a policy allowing students to leave school and attend bible education. About 800 of 1250 HEA members signed a letter of no confidence against school board President Nadia Long and members Beth Murdoch and Zach Vorst — mostly, Jordan said, for the way they introduced a policy to allow students to attend bible education during the school day.
“Specifically, the last-minute changes to language, the inability for the community to see those changes, and for two of their own board members to know that change was coming until they received the new language two hours before the board meeting that night,” Jordan told NBC4.
A letter outlining the vote of no confidence accused the members of adopting new language without appropriately presenting it, circumventing policies on receiving complaints and failing to maintain the meeting’s “civility and decorum,” among other things.
The vote of no confidence does not remove Long, Murdoch or Vorst from their roles. In a statement, Long said that HEA members rejected an offer to communicate via a federal mediator.
“Board members and district personnel will not always agree on matters before the Board,” Long said. “However, we all support the Academic Commitment Plan with the goal of implementing innovative approaches toward building students’ academic success and fulfilling our vision of Ready for Tomorrow.”
In a statement texted to NBC4, Vorst said he was disappointed by union leaders’ decision to not speak directly with him, Murdoch or Long, and that he thought the union and board members shared a common interest in prioritizing student welfare.
“I want the teachers and staff in our district to know that I care for and respect you all,” Vorst said. “I look forward to working with each of you as we continue to make our schools the best that they can be!”
Murdoch was not available for an interview.
Jordan said she hopes to see changes in future meetings.
“They recognize that maybe they aren’t as transparent as they should have been that evening — that there were procedures that should have been followed that weren’t and we’re hoping to see those changes in board meetings moving forward,” Jordan said.
The letter of no confidence can be read below.