Former agriculture instructor Richard Brill’s teaching career at Canal Winchester came to an end on July 16 when the Canal Winchester Board of Education released him from his contract following suspension of his teaching license by the State Board of Education.
The three-year suspension ruling was handed down on July 10, following an investigation involving the more than 15-year classroom veteran and allegations made by two female students regarding inappropriate relationships. Although Brill turned in a letter of resignation on July 11, the local board decided not to accept the document because the state voided his agreement the day before. The board then proceeded with approving the release of his contract.
According to the state board, Brill’s eight-year high school teaching certificate was suspended and he was denied an application for an eight-year renewal teaching certificate due to allegedly "engaging, or attempting to engage, in an inappropriate, personal relationship and sexual conduct with two students" following a report and recommendation by a hearing officer.
Brill has been on paid leave since the first allegation was made in April 2005. A similar complaint was also filed against Brill regarding a student-related incident that happened four years ago on his farm in Lancaster. Although the state hearing officer cited alleged inappropriate conduct by Brill, the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Department, which also investigated the incident, said there was not enough information to pursue charges.
"Although this started in April of ’05, there was a subsequent charge made by another student. It was all turned over to the Fairfield County prosecutor’s office in June-July of 2005, who said they wouldn’t release any information to the district until it was released by the prosecutor," reported Canal Winchester school board member David Brobst. "At the November (2005) board meeting we were given notice the Ohio Department of Education was taking up the investigation and there was a large turnout of support for Mr. Brill at that meeting.
"The board said the logical thing to do was to let ODE take over and we were told it would be March or April (2006) before they decided to take action. It was December (2006) before they got the hearing underway. The hearing officer released his decision in April (2007), then Mr. Brill and his attorney got an extension, so it finally ends up two years later in July.
"He was on paid administrative leave from 2005 until July of this year. From the board’s standpoint, ODE was doing everything we would have done and other than being disappointed it wasn’t a more timely process for all parties, it was better handled by the state so there was no question of impropriety."
The board will hold a special meeting on Aug. 6 to award a contract for the Lithopolis Road Improvement Project and discuss/take possible action on a November operating levy.
"We have to decide whether we want an emergency or continuing levy and what size it should be," stated Brobst. "We’re giving Joyce (Boyer, treasurer) more time to compile numbers and looking to input from Kim (Superintendent Miller-Smith) and giving her the opportunity to look at savings and measures if the management team is in agreement on them. The board wants to make an informed decision on the levy and, at the same time, needs to make a clear message what we need to do it if we don’t pass the levy. It will also give us the opportunity to know more about year-end figures and what the state is going to do with the budget."
Brobst said the board’s intent is to discuss the levy on Aug. 6 and possibly take the first of two steps to put it on the Nov. 6 ballot. He added that the second step would need to take place during the board’s regular August meeting in order to meet the Aug. 23 filing deadline.