Youngstown school board member questions legality, ethics of president's, son's votes

By Denise Dick


The issue of an appeal of a judge’s decision that ordered city school board President Brenda Kimble to appoint a classroom teacher to the academic distress commission may not be over.

Board member Dario Hunter said he’s heard from people in the district expressing concerns about the legality and ethics of Kimble and her son, board member Ronald Shadd, voting on a resolution for Kimble’s appeal.

As the president, Kimble appointed Carol Staten, her distant cousin, to the academic distress commission. The teachers’ union filed suit, contending the appointment should have been a teacher.

A magistrate and Judge Lou A. D’Apolito of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court agreed.

Staten was a substitute administrator at the time of her appointment and was recently appointed principal at Discovery at Volney.

Kimble then filed notice of appeal Jan. 29. The next day, the board met and approved that appeal by a 4-3 vote. Kimble, Shadd and board members Jerome Williams and Michael Murphy were in favor, with Hunter and board members Jackie Adair and Corrine Sanderson opposed.

Hunter said at Tuesday’s regular meeting he has asked the Ohio Ethics Commission to look into the issue.

That drew a heated response from Kimble.

“Mr. Shadd is my son,” she said. “Everyone in the district, outside the district and in the community knows that.”

He was elected by voters in a different election than she was, Kimble said. Shadd is in his first term. Kimble was elected to her second term last November.

Kimble said the district employs husbands and wives in the administration and teachers’ children are employed in the district.

“You must be the only person around here who has no family,” Kimble told Hunter.

Adair then piped in, accusing Kimble of making inflammatory comments, but Kimble continued.

“I’m sorry that you are more concerned about Mr. Shadd being my son and Mrs. Staten being my cousin than about working together for what’s best for the students of this district,” she said.

Then it was Hunter’s turn.

“I do have a family,” Hunter said. “My family is every single child in this district, their parents and the community.”

That’s in addition to his personal family, he said.

Hunter said he didn’t appreciate Kimble turning a public business matter into something personal.

In other business, a recommendation from Stephen Stohla, interim superintendent, regarding a retirement-bonus plan for teachers likely will be on a third board meeting agenda.

Stohla and the teachers’ union reached a memorandum of understanding regarding the plan for this school year.

The resolution initially was on the Jan. 12 meeting agenda but was tabled.

It was on Tuesday’s agenda but didn’t get approval from the board’s majority.

Kimble, Murphy and Sanderson voted in favor of the agreement with Williams, Adair and Hunter opposed. Shadd abstained.

Treasurer Sherry Tyson said the recommendation would come before the board at its next regular meeting.

Adair said she wanted more information including a cost-benefit analysis.

The plan calls for eligible teachers’ union members who retire at the end of this school year to get a one-time retirement bonus of $5,000 each plus $52.08 for each day school is in session and worked by the employee between Jan. 1 and May 27 of this year, up to $10,000 total. The money would be paid by July 31.

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