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Galloway v. Firelands Local School District Board of Education

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District

September 30, 2013

MATTHEW GALLOWAY Appellee
v.
FIRELANDS LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF EDUCATION Appellant

APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 11CV171845.

WARREN ROSMAN and JOHN S. KLUZNIK, Attorneys at Law, for Appellant.

THOMAS C. DRABICK, JR., Attorney at Law, for Appellee.

DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

DONNA J. CARR, Presiding Judge.

(¶1} Appellant, Firelands Local School District Board of Education ("School Board"), appeals from the judgment of the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas. This Court vacates the judgment of the trial court because of a lack of jurisdiction, and remands the matter to the trial court with instructions to dismiss the appeal.

I.

(¶2} On November 29, 2010, the superintendent of the Firelands Local School District, Gregory Ring, delivered a letter to Matthew Galloway, a 15-year non-teaching employee of the school district. The letter indicated that the superintendent would be conducting a Loudermill hearing on December 1, 2010, concerning Galloway's possible termination of employment as a custodian, informed him of the alleged grounds for such termination, and also informed him that he could attend with legal counsel. See Cleveland Bd. of Edn. v. Loudermill, 470 U.S. 532 (1985) (concerning due process hearings to which terminated school district employees are entitled). After the Loudermill hearing was completed, Superintendent Ring wrote another letter to Galloway, indicating that he would recommend to the School Board that Galloway's employment be terminated for the reasons set forth in his earlier letter, and notifying him of a hearing in front of the School Board regarding his possible termination on December 13, 2010. That hearing was held, but Galloway was not present.

(¶3} Immediately following the December 13, 2010 hearing, Superintendent Ring sent a third letter to Galloway. That letter indicated that the School Board had voted to terminate his employment at its meeting. The letter further recited that the School Board agreed to offer him a final opportunity to continue employment under a "last chance agreement." On December 22, 2010, Superintendent Ring again corresponded with Galloway, indicating that Galloway was terminated from his employment, effective December 17, 2010, because the superintendent had not received an acceptance of the "last chance agreement" from Galloway. Based on this letter, Galloway filed a notice of administrative appeal to the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas. Subsequently, the parties apparently agreed to dismiss the appeal without prejudice and to conduct a second hearing before the School Board.

(¶ 4} The School Board conducted that hearing on March 23, 2011. The transcript of that hearing does not indicate the decision of the School Board. Superintendent Ring prepared yet another letter, dated April 12, 2011, addressed to Galloway. It stated in full as follows:

Dear Mr. Galloway,
At its regular Board Meeting last evening, the Firelands Board of Education voted 5-0 to affirm its December 13, 2010 decision to terminate your employment with the Firelands Schools.
Regretfully,
Gregory D. Ring
Superintend ...

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