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As school CEO looks to leave, Youngstown Plan under criticism once again

Those who want to overturn House Bill 70 say the plan to bring Ohio's academically-challenged schools out of fiscal emergency isn't good for the kids

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) - Reaction to the prospect of losing Youngstown Schools CEO Krish Mohip to Boulder, Colorado has been mixed. Tuesday night, there was a public meeting on overturning House Bill 70 -- the law that creates a CEO position for Youngstown City Schools. The criticism wasn't leveled so much at Mohip, but rather the law itself.

A Colorado newspaper is reporting that Mohip is a finalist for a superintendent's job in Boulder. Mohip said he's looking to leave Youngstown after his house was vandalized three times.

The Reverend Ken Simon opened Tuesday's meeting by telling the 75 people at New Bethel Baptist Church that even if Mohip leaves, another CEO will be brought in to take his place.

Community activist Ron Miller echoed Rev. Simon's thoughts.

"As those people go, others will come in with the same agenda," Miller said.

The purpose of the meeting was to continue the effort to overturn HB70 -- the so-called Youngstown Plan created to bring Ohio's academically-challenged schools out of academic emergency.

"It seems to me right now, with the status of our school district academically and financially, the children are on the bottom," said School Board President Brenda Kimble.

"It is a bad bill. It is horrible for children," said Tony Dimacchia, president of the Lorain School Board.

Lorain is Ohio's second school system to be taken over by HB70.

"We've seen hundreds of thousands of dollars get sent to New Jersey, and D.C. and New York to countless firms doing work in our district that we have no idea what they're doing," Dimacchia said.

School board members from East Cleveland and Warrensville Heights also spoke. Their school systems are being threatened with HB70 and they're doing what they can to avoid it.

"We must increase at least another overall letter grade to avoid a takeover," said Michele Elba, with Warrensville Heights Schools.

"What they want to do is take our school district and privatize public education in the State of Ohio," said Dr. Mary Rice, with East Cleveland Schools.

Reaction to the possibility of the Youngstown Schools CEO leaving was mixed.

School board member Dario Hunter called Mohip's tenure here "a stepping stone in the advancement of his career," adding that "the district is no less a mess than when he took control."

George Freeman, president of the local NAACP chapter said, "We believe CEO Mohip was beginning to lay the foundation for progress...It is not easy to address...the long-standing academic failure of the past 20 years."

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