Youngstown school board lobs another HB 70 challenge
By Amanda Tonoli
Youngstown Board of Education members unanimously voted Tuesday to request their powers be returned if the CEO doesn’t raise the district’s grade above a C.
CEO Krish Mohip has a three-year contract and is tasked with improving district academic performance on state report cards.
The resolution specifically requests the Ohio School Boards Association restore operational, managerial and instructional control of the district to the board of education and its selected superintendent. Current Superintendent Joe Meranto was selected by CEO Krish Mohip – not the board.
Mohip was put in place by House Bill 70, which enables him to lead the schools with state-appointed academic distress commission oversight. Both are now in place in the city. He refers to the elected school board as an advisory board.
In addition, the resolution states a request that the board not be dissolved if the district’s state report card grade fails to improve above a C.
HB 70 states that if the CEO and academic distress commission fail to turn the school district around – by bringing the state report card grade up to a C – the board will be dissolved and a new board will be appointed by the Youngstown mayor.
Board President Brenda Kimble said this request is not just specific to Youngstown, but to all school districts that will fall under the auspices of HB 70.
Another unanimous vote was to reject a 100 percent tax abatement for Wick Properties LLC at 34 W. Federal St. Wick properties wanted an abatement for remodeling costs to a partially residential building costing more than $10 million.
“As I’ve said before and I will say again, we need to take a stand,” said board member Jackie Adair. “We have been tax-abated into oblivion, and nobody wants to pay property taxes except us po’ folk here in the city.”
Fellow member Ronald Shadd requested of those submitting tax-abatement requests to the board to first consider the district’s financial position.
The board suspended the meeting for another time in order to consider the appointment of legal counsel. Currently the board retains Atty. Ted Roberts as its legal counsel.