Columbus appellate court keeps 'Youngstown Plan' in effect
By Amanda Tonoli
The Youngstown plan for the city schools will stay in effect after a court’s ruling.
The 10th District Court of Appeals in Columbus on Thursday affirmed the ruling of the Franklin County Common Pleas Court to deny the Youngstown Board of Education’s claim for declaratory judgment and motion for permanent injunction on House Bill 70.
HB 70 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. He refers to the board of education as advisory.
Brenda Kimble, school board president, said she had hoped the court’s decision would be different.
“We were not represented in this case,” Kimble said. “Our attorneys are not pulling out. They will continue to fight this in court. They have no intention of walking away.”
The board is represented by Ted Roberts of Roth, Blair, Roberts, Strasfeld and Lodge.
“We will continue to challenge [HB 70] until Columbus decides to do things more fairly,” she said.
Mohip applauded the latest court decision.
“We’re just going to keep doing what’s best for kids,” he said. “I’m glad that another court realizes that’s what HB 70 is about. I’ve said since my arrival in Youngstown that my focus is always what’s best for students. Sometimes that makes some adults uncomfortable.”
Mohip became YCSD’s first CEO in late June 2016. Since then, the district has expanded its preschool program, started an after-school program to provide more instruction, revived athletics, returned to neighborhood schools and improved district transportation, he noted in a statement.
Although Kimble said the school board will continue to challenge HB 70, it will not be on the school district’s dime.
As he announced last October, Mohip said he will not authorize the expenditure of district funds for appeals of the lawsuit filed in 2015 in Franklin County “or any such attempts to hamper the success of the district’s strategic plan.”
Other parties to the original injunction are the Ohio Education Association, Youngstown Education Association, city schools teacher Jane Haggerty, AFSCME Ohio Council 8 and the AFL-CIO.