YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – There will be a number of seats up for the Youngstown Board of Education, but who will fill them?
Local voters or the mayor?
Dario Hunter is one of two members running for re-election, and he’s looking for answers.
“It’s just an untenable situation to have people running for office and then also have a process unfold where people are going to be appointed to the same office,” Hunter said.
Hunter is referring to language contained in what has become known as “House Bill 70.”
The latest state report cards give the Youngstown City Schools district an “F” for the fourth straight year, which now allows for an appointed Board of Education — even while a public election for board members is weeks away.
Still, Deputy Elections Director Tom McCabe said the election will go forward as planned.
Friday morning, election directors received an opinion from the county prosecutor to essentially ignore the language in HB 70.
“Whatever happens within the Revised Code with the removal isn’t up to the Board of Elections,” he said.
Hunter says that may create an even bigger mess, however.
“This really should have been anticipated,” he said.
Perhaps it already was.
WKBN obtained a letter sent by the State Superintendent laying out a timeline for making appointments. It specifies that in 30 days, a seven-member local commission will be convened to start nominating candidates.
Within 30 days of that, a slate of at least 10 would-be candidates is to be sent to Mayor Tito Brown, who will then have 30 more days to select five of those nominees to take office in January.
As all this is happening, Board Member Brenda Kimble is waiting for a hearing by the Ohio Supreme Court next month on the status of HB 70.
“Because if we win our case, then House Bill 70 will go away, and it’ll be like it never existed, and they will have to turn back to the elected school board,” she said.