Tipp City school board votes to not renew superintendent’s contract over handling of threat

The Tipp City school board voted unanimously to not renew the contract of Superintendent Mark Stefanik on Wednesday.

The vote happened during an emergency meeting Wednesday evening to discuss school safety. The meeting happened after it came to light that a Tipp City student made threats against the other students nearly a month ago.

After hearing from concerned parents about the incident and the district’s response, the board met in a closed executive session for roughly 40 minutes. After that, they returned to vote unanimously to non-renew Stefanik’s contact effective immediately.

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During the meeting, a interim leader was not named, but the board transitioned into their organizational meeting to start the new year.

Stefanik became Tipp City’s superintendent in 2020. He remained silent when the vote to oust him was taken and remained seated alongside the board when they moved into its organizational meeting.

In a statement to News Center 7, Stefanik said he will continue to work for the “betterment” of the district.

“Boards of Education are tasked with making decisions they feel are in the best interest of students, staff, and the community. Last night, the Board made its decision and felt this was best for the Tipp City Schools. I will continue to work for the betterment of the Tipp City Schools, and pledge to do whatever I can to ensure a smooth transition,” his statement read.

During the meeting, Tipp City mother Kimberly Schwartz said her daughter was the target of a threat on Dec. 7.

A Tipp City police report states that a Tipp City Middle School student made comments saying he wanted to “shoot up the school” with different types of weapons. The first person he said he would kill would be Kimberly Swartz’ daughter.

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“It’s scary. I mean you hear about it all over the news, but you never think its going to happen to you,” Swartz said.

Swartz told News Center 7 that she was notified by the vice principal at the school of a threat, but the word “shooting” never came up.

“He did not give me any other details, that was the end of the conversation. I learned though the word of the students’ mouths that it was a school shooting threat,” Swartz said.

She said she went to Stefanik for more answers.

“I couldn’t understand why they were just saying it was taken care of, it was no big deal,” Swartz said. “And it was just disciplinary action.”

Other parents didn’t know this happened until she posted online.

“I provided them with the details as well as the police report,” Swartz said.

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Soon after, the school board held an emergency meeting Wednesday night where members were outraged they never heard of this shooting threat.

“I should have been informed when it goes to this level, I should should have been informed,” board member Anne Zakkour said in the meeting Wednesday.

Other parents were also concerned. One parent even told Stefanik that he lost confidence in him.

Swartz called the board’s decision to not renew Stefanik’s contract “the best decision that could be made” for the students and the town.

Now, Swartz’ daughter is going to school online and will not return to Tipp City Schools until there is a plan to keep her daughter and other students safe.