YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown School Board finally selected Brenda Kimble to remain as president after two days and six and a half hours of meetings.
Four members voted for Kimble and the other three voted for board member Jackie Adair.
The three-member faction of the board, which calls themselves “The Students First Caucus,” is made up of Adair, Dario Hunter and Corrine Sanderson.
They tried hard Friday night to filibuster, or stall, the election of a board president. Together, they took full advantage of the board’s rules to prolong the meeting. It appeared to be a planned strategy to prevent Kimble from being reelected as board president.
The school board’s special meeting started at 5:28 p.m. with Adair nominating Corrine Sanderson to be president.
Member Dario Hunter dominated the meeting, however. With a ten-minute, two-speech rule in effect, he spoke for 27 minutes on why Sanderson should be president.
“Home life issues, yes. Which she recognizes from both the classroom and from her personal child raising experience,” Hunter said.
At one point, Kimble interrupted and made a motion that all debate, for this meeting only, be limited to three-minute speeches.
“If too much time is taken in discussion or debate, it can be cut off so that there is time to vote,” she said.
Hunter responded by saying the school board is a “deliberative assembly.”
“At the point that we are at, that’s all we are. All we really have is the ability to deliberate over things.”
The board then spent an hour debating the three-minute issue – whether the majority of the board had the right to stop people from speaking.
“What can a person deliberate on when you grind the meeting to a halt?” member Ron Shadd questioned.
The board voted 4-3 to limit the debate to three minutes for this meeting only, but that didn’t stop the verbal back-and-forth among the members.
“We’re supposed to follow our policy, and that’s what we’re gonna follow tonight,” said Vice President Mike Murphy.
Hunter pointed out that the board’s policy includes a rule to limit meetings to two hours.
“We don’t just simply make up rules to break them,” he said.
The debate on Sanderson’s nomination continued for another 30 minutes, with Sanderson, Hunter and Adair all speaking.
The meeting went on so long, Youngstown Schools CEO Krish Mohip bought pizza for everyone there.
Then, another issue came up. Adair and Hunter suggested Shadd, who is Kimble’s son, not be allowed to vote for president because it would be a conflict of interest.
“It can be argued that voting for your own mother for leadership of the board is a conflict of interest,” Hunter said.
Murphy, who ran the meeting, tried to get a vote on who will be president, but was denied that chance.
“You cannot close the debate so long as there’s any member who’s not exhausted his right to debate,” Adair said.
Eventually at around 9 p.m., three and a half hours into the meeting, Murphy did get a vote. After spending two hours touting why Sanderson should be president, none of the three who spoke on her behalf voted for her.
It was a textbook filibuster – three board members ganging up on the majority of four using, and sometimes bending, the rules to prolong the debate. In the end, it didn’t work and Kimble will remain president.
The meeting continued on until 10:47 p.m. for a total of 5 hours and 19 minutes, according to Hunter.
The board spent the rest of the time trying to decide who would become vice president. They eventually decided to keep Murphy in the role by a 4-3 vote.