Johnstown resident Patti Norris handed Johnstown-Monroe Board of Education president John Davis and member Terry Holter letters of intent to recall their positions at the board's Feb. 14 meeting.

Johnstown resident Patti Norris handed Johnstown-Monroe Board of Education president John Davis and member Terry Holter letters of intent to recall their positions at the board's Feb. 14 meeting.

Norris also gave the board a 70-page compilation of testimonies as part of the continuing effort to save the job of high school football coach Mike Carter.

The school board is considering not renewing Carter's contract next month. Carter is also the athletic director and dean of students and would lose those positions as well.

Norris said she spoke to Robin Hovis, president of the Ohio State Board of Education, who told her that "local school board members are accountable to the citizens of the district."

To hold the members accountable, a group called "Concerned Citizens on behalf of Johnstown-Monroe School District and its Students" is collecting signatures to recall the two board members.

Davis said the letter and petition weren't surprising, but said unless Norris is able to collect enough signatures he doesn't think he would be removed from the board.

"There's a very narrow field of how you can remove an elected official from office," Davis said, "and certainly I don't feel that me or Mr. Holter have violated anything as far as the Ohio revised code."

He said he realizes why the community has so many questions about the possibility of not renewing Carter's contract.

"As a board member," Davis said, "you know more of the story than the public does. It's just unfortunate that a lot of this can't be discussed in a public setting."

A score of residents at Monday's meeting pleaded with the board to renew Carter's contract.

Vicki Franklin, whose son is on the football team, said she spoke to superintendent Damien Bawn, "who assured me that Mike Carter was not involved in any egregious behavior.

"I have read every one of his performance evaluations and in those there is absolutely nothing to warrant a non-renewal," Franklin said. "Mike Carter truly sees the potential greatness in all the students and helps to instill Johnnie pride."

Mayor Kevin Riffe also spoke in support of Carter, saying the community needs more answers.

"If a reason other than 'going in another direction' would be brought forward, then maybe this group might better understand the situation. But as of now that is not the case," Riffe said.

Parent Amy Furr said the district is already headed in the right direction.

"It seems our district is moving in a very positive direction right now with the help of our coach, our athletics director and our dean of students," Furr said. "We need Mike Carter to keep moving in a positive direction."

Davis said the situation is hard on all parties involved.

"There's a difference between a termination and a non-renewal," Davis said

While not speaking specifically about Carter, Davis said state budgets are coming up and around 80 percent of the budget goes towards salary and benefits.

"That means the only place you can have a true reduction, for the most part, is in personnel," Davis said, "And that means jobs, that means people, and that means families and that's never a good decision."

The school board plans to vote on Carter's contract at its next board meeting March 21.

Carter's supporters say they hope the board will vote with the community in mind.

"He helped me through so much and if he could (help) just one more kid, he's worth staying," former student athlete Jim Dodderer said. "I hope you can see that."