Youngstown school board members voice opposition to CEO’s changes

By Jordyn Grzelewski


After walking out of a city school board meeting Tuesday night, three board members elaborated on their opposition to some new policies implemented by schools CEO Krish Mohip.

“We were not having the school board meeting. That was a presentation of stuff he [Mohip] had already done,” said board member Corrine Sanderson, who hosted a solo news conference Wednesday at the board offices on Wood Street.

“We do not have a voice,” she said.

Sanderson and fellow board members Dario Hunter and Jacqueline Adair are upset by Mohip’s attempts to exert control over school board meetings. He has, for example, taken over the task of setting meeting agendas, a power they believe still belongs to them.

“We had an agenda that was planned by the CEO. ... He believes that it falls under the realm of House Bill 70,” Sanderson said, referring to the Youngstown Plan that put a CEO in charge of the school district. “We represent our constituents and if someone has an issue, we should be able to put that on the agenda.”

Sanderson, who is running for the 58th Ohio House District, was irked by a section of the meeting agenda stating that board members could request an executive session “for bond or tax issues,” while the CEO could request executive session “for all other issues.”

Sanderson had planned, she said, to request an executive session to discuss a case of bullying at the Chaney Campus involving her daughter. Sanderson left the meeting before Mohip asked if the board needed an executive session.

“[Tuesday] night, I was supposed to address the school board in executive session concerning the incident, and to no avail – I could not make my complaint,” said Sanderson. “School board president Brenda Kimble and CEO Krish Mohip had consented to an agenda that stripped the school board of its authority to call for executive session.”

Adair left the meeting because she felt that it was no longer the board’s meeting, she said.

“It appeared to me that the back and forth that we were going through, primarily Dario and I, was not getting us anywhere. I had made my mind up before I came to the meeting, that if some crazy stuff happened, I was not going to sit there and listen. And to me it got crazy,” she said.

“When the CEO made his declaration at the previous board meeting, I was infuriated by that,” Adair said, referring to Mohip’s announcement last month that board meetings would be limited to once per month. “Then, [Tuesday] night, when he takes over a board meeting — not a district meeting, but a board meeting. I’m like, ‘Oh heck no, you don’t run this.’”

Hunter, too, does not believe Mohip has authority to direct board meetings.

“If the CEO persists in exceeding his authority under HB 70, I intend to pursue legal action against him for usurping the remaining abilities left,” he said. “He needs to focus on the academics and stop picking a fight with the board.”

Mohip said Wednesday: “I am committed to the children and families of Youngstown. It’s an amazing city and our citizens deserve the very best of the school system. I intend to operate within the authority granted to the office of the CEO to make the best decisions for our children. I will continue to work collaboratively with all board members. I am also committed to continuing listening to the community through morning meetings at schools for parents, and community meetings.”