Ethics complaint filed against the vice-president of the Sycamore school board

There is controversy surrounding a member of the Sycamore school board just before election day. A local teachers’ union, the Sycamore Education Association, files a formal complaint with the Ohio Ethics Commission against school board vice president David Evans for what they call a violation of the ethics.Photos show Sycamore High School engineering and architecture students in 2018, building precision maintenance tools represents Evans’ private business. Evans is the President and CEO of Tessec, a company based in Dayton which designs and manufactures equipment for the aerospace and defense industries. A 42-page public records request to the Sycamore School District helps piece the story together. A high school teacher overseeing the project wrote in a note Evans offered the students an “authentic learning experience” and “could find a solution as a form of compensation, like a water jet cutter”, a cutting system expensive high-tech. The school principal approved. Students spent half of the school year completing the job, but according to the union, Evans never bought this equipment. be identified, fearing what speaking to a board member might mean to their job. He is outraged and says he is not the only one. “The kids worked really hard to try to make their part of this deal and then there was a ball drop at the end,” the staff member said. The Ohio Education Association says Tessec was awarded a $ 85,840 contract by the Department of the Navy and the work Sycamore students did supported that contract. WLWT was unable to independently review the contract. Evans declined an interview. Students began work in January 2018, the month Evans was sworn in. According to the OAS complaint, it took students about 400 hours to build 41 maintenance booths. The staff put in 200 more. They finished at the end of May 2018. However, Evans did not provide any documented payment forms this school year, summer or fall of the following school year. A teacher informed the assistant superintendent that the teachers were “uncomfortable” and “nervous”. to deal with a member of the board of directors. They wanted to contact Evans “in the hope that he would make things right.” In February 2019, nine months after the students completed the project, the complaint states that Evans wrote a check for $ 1,500 to the school “to support the engineering programs.” He also provided a list of the materials he donated: $ 400 of tools and an $ 800 3D printer that was donated in 2015, three years before the project started. Besides this printer, Evans donated $ 1,900 for 400 hours of student work. In other words, that’s $ 4.75 an hour for labor. WLWT asked an ethics expert if it was just a good deal or if it was unethical. amount of work in a project that the pay would be so low, ”said Professor Paul Fiorelli, director of the Cintas Institute for Business Ethics and professor at Xavier University. “Sometimes, unfortunately, we can no longer count on a handshake.” He says the lack of a written agreement between Evans and the school blurs the lines from a legal standpoint. Ethically, he sees red flags. “The big question will be that of conflicts of interest,” he said. More than a year after the students completed these maintenance booths, the district purchased a plasma cutting system for $ 15,112.39. Taxpayers have footed the bill. “You couldn’t pretend there was no harm, no fault,” said Fiorelli. “But there is a potential danger. That’s who paid for this $ 15,000 project. You and me.” The Sycamore Education Association claims that Evans violated the board’s conflict of interest policy. He says board members cannot have a direct or indirect financial interest in a contract, even if it was only verbal. In an email where Evans declined an interview with WLWT, he said he was proud of the collaboration which provides learning opportunities for Sycamore students. Evans said “my statement would be similar to the one sent by the district,” referring to the statement below from school board president Melissa Weiss. company has collaborated with the school district on several STEM-related projects. I also understand that Mr. Evans or his company donated the material and equipment used for these projects. I am not aware of any contracts between Mr. Evans, his company and the Board of Education – before or after he became a member of the board. Our school district has a long history of working with local businesses on project-based learning opportunities for our students. We have not been made aware that any of our project-based learning partnerships have been inappropriate, including any previous STEM-based projects involving Mr. Evan’s company. ”

There is a controversy swirling around a member of the Sycamore school board just before election day.

A local teachers’ union, the Sycamore Education Association, files a formal complaint with the Ohio Ethics Commission against school board vice president David Evans for what they call a violation of the ethics.

The photos show engineering and architecture students from Sycamore High School in 2018, building precision maintenance stands for Evans’ private company.

Evans is the President and CEO of Tessec, a Dayton-based company that designs and manufactures equipment for the aerospace and defense industries.

A 42-page public records request to the Sycamore School District helps piece the story together.

A high school teacher overseeing the project wrote in a note that Evans gave students an “authentic learning experience” and “could find something as a form of compensation, like a waterjet cutter,” a system expensive high-tech cutting.

The school principal approved. Students spent half of the school year completing the job, but according to the union, Evans never bought this equipment.

“I thought it was inappropriate,” said a Sycamore staff member.

It came from a Sycamore staff member who does not want to be identified, fearing what talking about a board member might mean for their job. He is outraged and says he is not the only one.

“The kids worked really hard to try to make their part of this deal and then there was a bullet drop at the end,” the staff member said.

The Ohio Education Association says Tessec was awarded a contract for $ 85,840 from the Department of the Navy and that work done by students at Sycamore supported that contract.

WLWT was unable to independently review the contract. Evans declined an interview on the spot.

Students began work in January 2018, the month Evans was sworn in.

According to the OAS complaint, it took students about 400 hours to build 41 maintenance booths. Staff put in 200 more. They ended in late May 2018. However, Evans did not provide any documented payment form this school year, summer or fall of the following school year.

A teacher informed the Assistant Superintendent that teachers were “uncomfortable” and “nervous” about dealing with a board member. They wanted to contact Evans “in the hope that he would make things right.”

In February 2019, nine months after the students completed the project, the complaint states that Evans wrote a check for $ 1,500 to the school “to support the engineering programs.” He also provided a list of materials he donated: $ 400 of tools and an $ 800 3D printer that was donated in 2015, three years before the project started.

Besides this printer, Evans donated $ 1,900 – for 400 hours of student work. In other words, that’s $ 4.75 an hour for labor.

WLWT asked an ethics expert if it was just a good deal or if it was unethical.

“It doesn’t seem quite right and it doesn’t seem right that if you put this amount of work into a project, the pay would be so low,” said Professor Paul Fiorelli, director of the Cintas Institute for the business ethics and professor at Xavier University. “Sometimes, unfortunately, we can no longer count on a handshake.”

He says the lack of a written agreement between Evans and the school muddies the waters from a legal standpoint. Ethically, he sees red flags.

“The big question will be that of conflicts of interest,” he said.

More than a year after the students completed these maintenance booths, the district purchased a plasma cutting system for $ 15,112.39. Taxpayers have footed the bill.

“You cannot say that there is no harm, no fault,” said Fiorelli. “But there is a potential danger. That’s who paid for this $ 15,000 project. You and me.”

The Sycamore Education Association claims that Evans violated the board’s conflict of interest policy. He says board members cannot have a direct or indirect financial interest in a contract, even if it was only verbal.

In an email where Evans declined an interview with WLWT, he said he was proud of the collaboration which provides learning opportunities for Sycamore students. Evans said “my statement would be similar to the one sent by the district,” referring to the statement below from school board president Melissa Weiss.

“I understand that prior to joining the school board, Mr. Evans and his company worked with the school district on several STEM-related projects. I also understand that Mr. Evans or his company donated the equipment and materials. equipment used on these projects. I am not aware of any contracts between Mr. Evans, his company, and the Board of Education — either before or after he became a member of the Board.

Our school district has a long history of working with local businesses on project-based learning opportunities for our students. We were not told that any of our project-based learning partnerships were inappropriate, including any previous STEM-based projects involving Mr. Evan’s company. “


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