Reynoldsburg principal Chad Lape will not return to Rose Hill Elementary School after failing to report an alleged sexual assault of one third-grade student by another.
School board members and Lape signed an agreement Jan. 15 that assigned Lape to administrative duties at the central office until his resignation is effective on July 31.
Jana Alig, director of elementary education, will continue to serve as principal at Rose Hill until a new principal is hired, said Tricia Moore, director of partnerships and shared services.
Lape has been on paid leave since Dec. 14, after school leaders learned he failed to report the alleged sexual incident, said to have taken place in a school bathroom.
Alig sent a letter home to parents that stated the third-grade student accused of the alleged assault has been removed from the school while the district and Reynoldsburg police investigate the incident.
Lape will continue to be paid according to his annual salary of $80,140 under the agreement, and the district will pay the difference if he accepts a lower-paying position outside the district before July 31.
Section 4 of the agreement states, "The board's and administrator's agreement to the terms of this agreement does not constitute any admission of fault or wrongdoing of any kind by any party."
Moore said school board members voted unanimously to approve the resignation agreement.
"This agreement is an efficient and cost-effective resolution to the incident in early December when Mr. Lape is accused of not following district protocol," she said. "A serious incident involving two students was reported to Mr. Lape. District protocol called for him to report the incident to his supervisors and to Reynoldsburg police. Although he failed to do, Rose Hill staff members made the necessary reports that day."
Moore said district administrators were required to report the incident to the state department of education, which may investigate.
"The state board of education will determine whether the incident merits additional penalties, such a suspension or revocation of (Lape's) professional licenses," she said.
Moore said the district does not have the option under Ohio law to suspend administrators without pay during an investigation.
"The board found the agreement acceptable," she said. "The other options were to reinstate Mr. Lape as principal, reassign him permanently or initiate termination. Among the considerations was the financial risk of pursuing termination."
Moore said there are several required steps to terminate an administrator, including a pre-termination hearing and a hearing with an outside referee.
"Either party can appeal the referee's decision in court," she said. "The process can cost tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars, and school districts sometimes lose. This agreement contained costs and resulted in the desired outcome."
Moore said the school district is not paying Alig any additional stipend for serving as principal at Rose Hill.
"She maintains her prior responsibilities as director of elementary education," Moore said.