State education groups formally support Youngstown BOE against House Bill 70


The Ohio School Boards Association, Buckeye Association of School Administrators and Ohio Federation of Teachers filed a “friend of the court” brief Tuesday on behalf of the Youngstown Board of Education’s legal battle against House Bill 70.

A friend of the court brief is a court filing written in support of another party’s contention. It was filed at the 10th District Court of Appeals in Franklin County.

HB 70, commonly referred to as the Youngstown Plan, was signed into law by Gov. John Kasich in July 2015. It enabled a state-appointed academic distress commission to hire CEO Krish Mohip to lead the district. The bill gives Mohip complete operational, managerial and instructional control.

Mohip refers to the elected board of education as merely an advisory panel.

The Tuesday brief “respectfully urge[s] the court to ... declare Am.Sub.Hb 70 to be unconstitutional.”

Brenda Kimble, school board president, explained the brief was filed in support of the board’s argument “saying we are correct that HB 70 is unconstitutional.”

The amendment of HB 70 “created a mechanism to strip locally elected school boards of all authority,” the brief states. “Amending HB 70 was intentionally orchestrated to ‘minimize any negative pushback from the public’ and in particular, stakeholders in Youngstown.’”

The end result, the brief states, was “the trial court acknowledging the ‘conscious effort’ to quietly formulate amendments to HB 70,” but finding that “while these closed-door meetings may function to undermine the public’s confidence in this portion of the legislative process, it is not unconstitutional ...”

The friends of the court, however, are joining the board of education “in respectfully disagreeing,” the filing states.

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