YEA considers legal action with Youngstown commission pick

The Youngstown Education Association says it is considering legal action with the appointment of Carol Staten to Youngstown City Schools' Academic Distress Commission.
Carol Staten

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown Education Association is considering legal action over Friday’s selection of Dr. Carol Staten to the new academic distress commission for the Youngstown City Schools.

The leaders of the YEA say they are upset that a teacher was not selected. Under the law passed by the state legislature in Columbus, a teacher had to be one of the people on the commission.

Staten is a retired administrator — she was a principal at the former Hayes Junior High School. She was picked by Youngstown School Board President Brenda Kimble

Paula Valentini, vice president of the YEA, said Kimble had plenty of choices for the commission that would have sufficed.

“We want to see a current teacher. There are a wealth of accomplished teachers in the Youngstown Schools,” she said. “Current teachers have a better understanding of the strengths and programs.”

Valentini said, since the law states one member of the commission must be a City Schools teacher, the teachers union is considering legal action to block Staten’s appointment.

In October, Kimble told WKBN that she was having difficulty choosing an appointee, because the teachers that she wanted to pick did not want to participate in the commission.

Staten and Kimble could not be reached for comment on Friday evening.

Three of the five members of the Academic Distress Commission were appointed by Richard Ross, Ohio’s superintendent of public instruction. They are Dr. Laura Meeks, the former president of Eastern Gateway Community College; Jennifer Roller, president of the Raymond John Wean Foundation; and Brian Benyo, of the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition, who is also president of Youngstown’s Brilex Industries and a school board member for the Western Reserve Schools.

Dr. Barbara Brothers, the former dean of Youngstown State University’s College of Arts and Sciences, was selected Thursday by Youngstown Mayor John McNally.

Roller issued a statement Friday saying she was an ardent supporter of public education, and she is approaching her appointment with incredible optimism.

No date has been set for the first meeting of the new Academic Distress Commission.

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