BELLVILLE — The Clear Fork Board of Education agreed at its meeting Monday night to move forward with a hearing regarding the suspension of elementary principal Kirsten DeVito. The board authorized the employment of a court reporter and the appointment of Ronald E. Alexander, Esq. to serve as referee.

DeVito was placed on unpaid leave last September, following an investigation into allegations that she had used teachers’ signatures without their knowledge or approval on faculty valuation forms. The resulting investigation by the district superintendent Janice Wykoff exposed “numerous issues” with teacher evaluations prepared by DeVito. The board voted in September to begin proceedings for DeVito’s termination. According to the February meeting agenda, DeVito requested a hearing before a referee pursuant to Ohio Revised Code section 3319.16 and 3319.161.

An interim principal has been serving at Bellville Elementary since the beginning of the school year.

The board also approved a $1,540 grant from the Richland County Foundation to the Bellville Elementary School Military Kid’s Lunch Bunch. The group of military-connected students meets once a month for lunch, prepares care packages for deployed parents and plan Veterans Day and 9/11 presentations.

“They’ve become a support for each other,” said Ashley Twedt, who runs the program. “We’re like a little family.”

The grant will help fund the monthly lunches, T-shirts and a field trip to the National Veteran’s Memorial and Museum in Columbus.

Wyckoff also took a moment to congratulate middle school intervention specialist Taylor Haught on earning her master’s degree.

“It’s always better for the district to have better educated teachers,” said Wyckoff. “Not only do they know more but its good for kids to see adults go on and obtain more education.”

The board also approved the following:

•The January 2019 Financial Report provided by treasurer Bradd Stevens.

•A donation of nine printers and some toner from the Mansfield Social Security Office.

•Supplemental contracts for various spring sports coaches.

•A College Credit Plus ASP agreement with North Central State College.

•A 2-year proposal from Julian & Grube, Inc. to extend the IPA annual audit services for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 at a rate of $16,000 per year.

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Katie Ellington: 740-397-5333 or katie@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @kt_ellington