School Board Accepts Resignation Of Suspended Teacher, Calls For Lifetime Ban On Teaching

 After the Olentangy Schools Board of Education announced its strong intent to swiftly seek the termination of suspended teacher Matthew Rausenberg, he submitted his letter of resignation. The board accepted the resignation during a special meeting Tuesday, March 24.
Board President Kevin O’Brien set out several reasons why the board took this action:
  • He will not be able to cross-examine children at his termination hearing.
  • The school district will avoid a protracted legal process that could last years and involve parents, students, teachers and administrators.
  • This action would be the fastest way to completely separate him from Olentangy Schools.
  • Following the acceptance of his resignation, the Board would direct the Superintendent to write a letter to the Ohio Department of Education, asking them to expedite this teacher’s license revocation and to ban him from teaching for life.
  • Following the acceptance of his resignation, the Board would direct the Superintendent to issue an order that will ban Matthew Rausenberg for life from setting foot on any Olentangy School property or attending Olentangy School events.
  • And, by accepting this resignation, there would be no benefit – economic or otherwise — to him.

“By accepting this resignation, our intent would be to completely separate Matthew Rausenberg from the Olentangy Local School District from this day forward,” O’Brien said.

Superintendent Outlines Initial Response To Recent Events At Arrowhead Elementary

Below is the message from Superintendent Dr. Lucas issued Tuesday afternoon regarding the situation at Arrowhead Elementary School.

Olentangy Families,

I want to provide you with an update on the recent events following the arrest of one of our teachers.

The Delaware County Sheriff notified district officials around 2:00 P.M. Monday that an investigation was underway involving Arrowhead Elementary teacher Matt Rausenberg.  The district fully cooperated with law enforcement and a search warrant was executed at Arrowhead at 4:00 P.M.  Later that evening Mr. Rausenberg was placed under arrest for rape and gross sexual imposition.

Immediately after the arrest Monday, district administrators met with Arrowhead Principal Luke Carlisle at Arrowhead and developed a plan to notify and support students, teachers, and families.  Personal phone calls to parents of Mr. Rausenberg’s students and the staff at Arrowhead began at 8:00 P.M.  The purpose of these calls was to invite each group to a morning meeting to discuss the circumstances surrounding the arrest.

Mr. Carlisle, Dr. Lucas, Sheriff Martin and other officials met with staff at 8:10 A.M. and parents of the class at 8:45 A.M. today.  A press release and district-wide email was also distributed at that time.  After having their questions answered, parents were able to speak with their students individually.  Additional counselors were present and Mr. Carlisle visited third, fourth, and fifth grade classrooms to talk with students directly.

Counselors will remain available at Arrowhead and all of our buildings if students, parents, or staff has a need.  The criminal investigation and prosecution will continue to be handled by the Delaware County Sheriff and Delaware County Prosecutor.  Amidst our outrage, we will continue to put the needs of our students first and grow ever more vigilant in our responsibility to protect and educate our community’s most precious assets — our students.

To that end, please review these suggestions for speaking with your children regarding the sensitive topic of sexual misconduct:

Helpful Tips for Talking with Your Child Today
·    Let your child guide the discussion.
·    Let them explain what their day was like today.
·    Ask open-ended questions.
·    Answer directly and honestly.
·    Keep the conversation appropriate for their developmental stage.
·    Explain that everything they are feeling is okay regardless of the feeling.
·    Understand that this conversation may need to happen in brief intervals.
·    Empathize with them, show compassion, and know you won’t have all the answers.

This conversation may lead to a conversation about inappropriate touching
·    Talk to your child about their body and body safety.
·    All children should know that it’s okay to say “no” to touches that make them feel uncomfortable.
·    Let your child know they should come to you if someone has touched them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.
·    Talk to your child about secrets.  Explain to your child that any inappropriate touching should never be kept secret.
·    It is beneficial for this to be an ongoing conversation between you and your child.

Signs that additional resources may be needed
·    Remember that every child is unique.  You know your child best.  Be aware of notable signs of change in mood or behavior.
·    Your child shares something concerning.

Who to call?
·    Your child’s school counselor or building administrator
·    The Delaware County Sheriffs Office 740-833-2800
·    Delaware County Job and Family Services 740-833-2340
·    The Child Advocacy Center (aka The Center for Family Safety and Healing) 614-722-8200
·    Helpline 211 or 1-800-684-2324

Refinancing To Save Olentangy Taxpayers More Than $9.2 Million Over Next 20 Years

The Olentangy Local School District is saving taxpayers more than $9.2 million in reduced debt service payments following the successful refinancing of outstanding bonds.

Bonds issued in 2006 and 2008 were included in the refinancing, which was completed March 10, 2015. The move will yield more than $550,000 in savings annually over the approximate 20-year life of the bonds.

In preparing for the refinancing, the district requested that rating agencies review the district’s credit quality. The district maintained its high ratings of Aa1 from Moody’s Investors Service and AA+ from Standard & Poor’s.

The ratings agencies cited the demographics of the district, strong financial management, strong voter support, and the district’s ability to stretch its current levy cycle as reasons for the strong rating. When the district’s last levy was passed in 2011, the Olentangy Board of Education promised not to return to voters for three years. The district’s focus on efficiency has allowed it to stretch that promise to at least five years with no new levies.

Olentangy Local Schools Treasurer Brian Kern said the refinancing also will help the district maintain its 2011 no new millage bond issue pledge.

“This refinancing will result in significant savings for our residents and the district,” added Superintendent Dr. Wade Lucas, Ed.D. “It is a good example of a way the district is generating savings without impacting classrooms, instructional programs and services.”