WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, Ohio (13abc Action News) - Patrick Hickey says "I just believe this is a day of healing for the district, and a day to move forward where we can return to the kids being the sole focus."
But during the last several months of the race for three seats on the Washington Local Schools (WLS) board of education, a lot of the focus has been on Hickey's past.
Critics of Hickey have raised allegations ranging from inappropriate contact with former students and staff from his previous district, to misappropriation of school funds.
The former WLS superintendent who resigned in 2015 categorically denies any of the allegations against him.
"I deny empathetically all of the accusations that have been made against me," says Hickey, "If all those things were true, one I would have been fired or two, I would be in jail, I've never been charged with a crime in my life."
Moving forward, Hickey says he has a 15 step platform to introduce including a financial audit of the district and several proposals to improve communication. But no small hurdle is the issue of Hickey being banned from the school district grounds.
"The community is the boss, not the board of education," says Hickey. He believes the ban will be lifted once he takes his seat on the board at the beginning of the year. "It's just suicide not to, the community has said, we want him on the board," says Hickey.