Ontario School Board slates special public meeting Thursday

The Ontario School Board will meet Thursday at 6 p.m. to decide on a lawyer to address a series of allegations made against two of its members. (The Enterprise/File).

ONTARIO – The Ontario School Board will convene a special meeting Thursday to choose a lawyer to represent it in an effort to navigate through a series of recent allegations leveled against two board members.

Mike Blackaby, school board chairman, said the board will meet at 6 p.m. at the Ontario School District office at 195 S.W. 3rd Ave.

Blackaby said the board will choose representation between four firms – one from Salem and three from Portland.

Blackaby said the board will open the meeting and then go into executive session to debate on the best choice. Once a law firm is picked, the board will come out of executive session and vote on the matter.

The special meeting was triggered by allegations in an unsigned letter – that claimed to represent 14 of 18 Ontario School District administrators – that called for the resignation of board members Eric Evans and Derrick Draper. The complaint was delivered to school board members earlier this month. No administrator attached their name to the document but most of it focuses on claims made by Jodi Elizondo, the Ontario High School principal, that included detailed accounts of private meetings and email excerpts.

The complaint claimed that the “behavior of Eric Evans and Derrick Draper exposes the district to liability and is hurting student achievement and success.”

The two board members’ conduct, the complaint said, has caused “significant damage” to the school district’s relations in the community.

No school district officials are discussing the details of the allegations. Blackaby and Draper did speak on the record to the Enterprise about the matter last week and Evans released a short statement. Evans and Draper denied the allegations made in the complaint are true.

Have a news tip? Reporter Pat Caldwell: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.

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