Perrysburg school board does not renew Toth Elementary principal's contract

Perrysburg school board does not renew Toth Elementary principal's contract
(Source: WTOL)
(Source: WTOL)

PERRYSBURG, OH (WTOL) - Major controversy happened Monday night in the Perrysburg School District over a principal's contract.

The school board unanimously decided not to renew Dr. Beth Christoff's contract at Toth Elementary.

Dr. Christoff was principal at Toth Elementary for 20 years and earned the award "Distinguished Principal of the Year" in 2008.

Several of the people at Monday's meeting did support Dr. Christoff even wearing shirts that said "Toth loves Dr. C." They were outraged after the board decided to not renew her contract.

Several shouted out shame afterwards some saying they have to get out to vote in the future while another yelled none of them will be on the next board.

Monday's meeting began more than an hour late late because of the boards executive session with Dr. Christoff regarding her contract.

Once the meeting began, board members heard from parents who spoke to Dr. Christoff's concern and attention to their children while at school, teachers about her exceptional leadership, and former students of her passion and kindness.

After several  community members stood up to speak out for the current Toth Elementary Principal the board returned to executive session regarding the matter.

When they returned to the meeting they voted unanimously to not renew her contract, but said it was a tough decision to make.

"You are thrown situations where you have to make decisions and sometimes you don't like the decisions very much," said Gretchen Downs, a Perrysburg School Board member. "This isn't the first time I've cried about this decision and it probably won't be the last."

Parents, community members and students were outraged at the boards decision.

Several told WTOL they felt disrespected and not heard. They felt the board had already made their decision before the meeting. Some say this vote makes them fear for their students, but others are just angry.

"I have to now go back and tell my son that his favorite principal, the only person who knows him as well as anyone in that school, will not be there for him next year," said Burma Edelman parent of a Toth Elementary student. "And I am extremely sad and disappointed as well as angry."

"I think a lot of students are going to be upset by this," said Bailey Lewicz, a former Toth student and Perrysburg High School graduate of 2018. "She has had such an impact on all of us, so I think we all just need to stay together and stay strong and show her how much she means to us."

Dr. Beth Christoff sat still as the board voted to not renew her contract Monday night.

After the meeting she was swarmed by previous students, teachers and parents with words of encouragement and support.

Dr. Christoff said she will walk away with her head held high knowing she stood up for herself and Perrysburg students.

"I'm devastated, I'm sad, I'm crushed, but I do respect the job that the board members do," said Dr. Beth Christoff current Toth principal. "I think that God has a plan for me and  I'm just going to move forward with that."

She said the support means so much to her and she hopes others will stand up for what's right moving forward.

While she doesn't know what is next, she said she may begin work on a children's book that's been on her mind and it will focus on kindness. She wants to finish this school year strong before her contract ends in July.

"Tomorrow when I go to school, they (the children) will give me hugs, they will be happy to see me and that's what it's all about," explained Dr. Beth Christoff.

After Monday's meeting, the school board president released this statement regarding their vote on Dr. Christoff's contract.

"We have developed an outstanding team at Perrysburg Schools.

The Ohio Education Association issued a statement Tuesday on behalf of the Perrysburg Education Association.

"The PEA has no reason to offer any official position on the board's decision regarding an administrator's contractual status. Dr. Cristoff (sic) is not a member of our bargaining unit, and her employment in the district has no implications on the contractual obligations of the members of the Perrysburg Education Association."

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