State superintendent, school board square off over Youngstown Plan

Richard Ross, Sept. 15, 2015
Ohio Superintendent of Schools Richard Ross. He defended the Youngstown Plan before the state Board of Education on Sept. 15, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – The furor over the state takeover of the Youngstown City Schools has spread to Columbus.

In a heated exchange at Tuesday’s State Board of Education meeting, Ohio School Superintendent Richard Ross faced pointed questions about his work on the plan. He argued that something dramatic needs to happen in Youngstown because only 1% of graduates are college ready.

Ross says local leaders asked for his help and he gave it to them, without bringing it up to the board in Columbus. “I never considered this a Department of Ed initiative,” said Ross. “It was the (Youngstown City Schools Business) Cabinet led by Tom Humphries.”

Mary Rose Oakar with the board was clearly unhappy. “I think you had an obligation to tell the board. It’s in the manual, repeated over and over again about the responsibilities.”

Other board members criticized Ross for keeping the work secret, claiming news of the plan came as a surprise.

A CEO is set to take over the failing district next month.

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