‘One of the worst:’ Critics discuss bill giving CEO power of Youngstown Schools

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – There are people in Youngstown determined to get rid of House Bill 70 — the legislation that gave CEO Krish Mohip absolute power over the city school district.

HB70, also known as the Youngstown Plan to save the city schools, passed the Ohio Legislature two-and-a-half years ago.

A community meeting Tuesday night attracted people from outside Youngstown.

Jennifer Hogue, with the Ohio School Boards Association, began by telling the 60 people in the crowd about a resolution that recently passed unanimously. It would oppose and repeal HB70 and “reinstate the importance of local, elected school boards,” she said.

Despite the opposition, Hogue said there’s no indication the Ohio Legislature will reverse HB70.

“Unfortunately, until a legislator’s local school districts are affected, they’re probably not going to be willing to make that change.”

Timothy Williams also spoke. He’s on the Lorain School Board, just west of Cleveland, which has also been run by a CEO since July.

He referred to it as “one of the worst pieces of legislation ever drafted.”

Williams said Lorain cooperated with the state for four years before it was finally decided that HB70 would be implemented.

Since Lorain’s CEO started, Williams said he has not met with the school board once.

“We feel violated. We feel that something that is ours, that belongs to us, is — by rights — ours, has been taken away and has been stolen.”

The Cleveland suburb of Warrensville Heights will be the next school taken over by HB70. Seven or eight more could soon follow.

Williams hopes they can all work together.

“On all political fronts, on all legal fronts, and all social fronts, we have to have a strategic way of engaging at all those levels,” he said.

Some Youngstown community members also spoke, including Reverend Ken Simon. He talked about how 30 people in the Youngstown School District now make over $100,000 a year, where just a few years ago, only one person did.

A mother expressed her frustration with the band and orchestra being removed from many of the city schools.

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