By Denise Dick
Members of the school boards of the only two districts in Ohio under the authority of state-appointed academic-distress commissions want to meet to talk about their shared experiences.
Jim Smith, a member of the school board in Lorain, contacted Jackie Adair, Youngstown Board of Education member, after reading her comments in a Vindicator article.
“She has the same concerns I’ve had,” he said, regarding the authority of academic-distress commissions. “The Legislature passes many things, but they don’t always hold up when they’re tested in court.”
Adair said the meeting, which only is being discussed and hasn’t been set up, would allow members of both bodies to compare notes to see how both boards are functioning with their respective commissions. Smith said he hasn’t heard back from other members of his board if they are interested in pursuing a joint meeting.
Adair, who announced the phone call from Smith at the board meeting last week, said members of the Youngstown board were supportive of the idea. If arranged, the meeting may not include the full boards and likely would take place somewhere halfway between Youngstown and Lorain, but Adair said she believes it should be open to the public.
“We want to trade ideas, trade concerns,” she said. “We want to see what, if anything — other than bringing our academics up — can we do to regain control of our local school districts.”
Lorain’s commission was appointed about a year ago while Youngstown’s was appointed in 2010.
Earlier this month, Lorain’s commission eliminated bumping rights in the Lorain Administrators Association contract, Lorain County’s Chronicle-Telegram reported.
“My main question — and Jackie’s question — is: If people elect someone to represent them and that person has their authority taken away from them by an appointed authority or counsel, is that legal?” Smith asked.