YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown School Board voted Tuesday to continue to fight the legality of House Bill 70 through the courts.
Also known as the Youngstown Plan, the bill created the new Academic Distress Commission and brought CEO Krish Mohip to the district.
Board member Corrine Sanderson asked the board to consider dropping its lawsuit against the state of Ohio that would declare House Bill 70 unconstitutional.
“If you have to take some power out of a few people’s hands, that our kids can achieve, then that’s what you have to do,” she said.
A lengthy debate ensued.
“People in our community voted for me to look after our kids’ best interest. It troubles me to see a board member give that responsibility to somebody else,” Jerome Williams said.
Ron Shadd said the lawsuit is something that the board should win and continue to champion.
“How can I fight for this board to be given control of a district it never really had effective control of in the first place?” Dario Hunter said.
In the end, the school board defeated the motion 4 to 3, meaning the legal fight to overturn the Youngstown Plan will continue.
Mohip’s response drew applause from the audience.
“I need us to stop saying that our children are failing. If that’s what our children are hearing, that’s what our children will believe. Our children are some of the smartest kids in this state. I see talented children every single day. We are failing as adults.”
Rev. Ken Simon, pastor of Youngstown’s New Bethel Baptist Church, also voiced concerns at the meeting. He is upset over rumors that Harry Evans, the school system’s chief of operations, was going to be removed. Simon linked the rumors to House Bill 70.
“Stop the political moves and games that are coming from Columbus, because you are only proving what we have said all along about this plan. That it’s all about control and it’s all about money,” he said.
Mohip, however, said that he has no plans to remove Evans, but that there are changes coming.
“I don’t answer to anyone but this community and if I was answering to anyone else, I wouldn’t have taken this job,” Mohip said.
Several board members praised the job the new CEO has done so far.
“We got a good guy and I can see a place for him when we win this lawsuit,” Shadd said.
The four board members voting to continue the legal fight were Ron Shadd, Brenda Kimble, Michael Murphy and Jerome Williams. Those voting to stop it were Corrine Sanderson, Dario Hunter and Jacqueline Adair.