( Lebanon ) Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell won't pursue charges against Franklin City Schools Superintendent Arnol Elam for a letter he sent out criticizing Governor John Kasich's school funding plan.
The "offending language" was: “As parents and friends of our district, I hope that you will do two things: First, please join me in an active campaign to ensure that Gov. Kasich and any legislator who supports him are not re-elected"
In a press release issued on Thursday, Fornshell wrote:
"From our very first conversation, FCSD officials expressed their regret over including the Offending Language in a Letter that was both produced and distributed using public funds. Superintendent Elam and the FCSD Board of Education have acknowledged that the inclusion of the Offending Language did, in fact, violate R.C. 9.03(C)(1)(e) and Superintendent Elam intends to personally reimburse the district for the funds used to produce the page of the Letter that contained the Offending Language. The FCSD Board has also represented that they will adopt additional procedures and safeguards to insure that no violations of this type occur in the future. Finally, Superintendent Elam and/or the FCSD Board also intend to use their own personal funds to notify the public of these facts utilizing the same manner of distribution as the original Letter. Based on these representations, and their prompt acceptance of responsibility for this mistake and prompt actions to rectify it, I have advised both Superintendent Elam and the FCSD Board that our office was satisfied with this outcome, and that our office would not be pursuing further action relating to the Offending Language.
I wish to address allegations that our office’s initiation of this investigation was politically motivated based upon the general content of the Letter. Those allegations are completely untrue. Neither Governor Kasich, the Ohio Republican Party, the Warren County Republican Party, local legislators, nor any of their representatives had anything to do with my decision to initiate an investigation into this matter. Rather, I made the decision to investigate immediately upon my review of the Offending Language in the Letter that had been forwarded to me by the concerned
Moreover, Superintendent Elam and the FCSD Board have every right to utilize public funds to notify parents of students in the FCSD, as well as the public itself, as to the effects of proposed legislation and its impact on students in the FCSD. However, it was the inclusion of the Offending Language that put Superintendent Elam and the FCSD Board in direct violation of R.C. 9.03(C)(1)(e) thereby warranting investigation.
In conclusion, it is my hope that this matter will serve to highlight and remind all political subdivisions in