CEO's Citizens Coalition under fire
By Amanda Tonoli
A Youngstown school board member said CEO Krish Mohip’s establishment of the CEO’s Citizens Coalition is the most outrageous action Mohip has taken since he arrived in 2016.
“I have my concerns and deep-seated outrage about another veiled attempt by the CEO to exclude the duly-elected members of this board from all things relevant to the operation of this district,” said Jackie Adair at Tuesday’s board meeting.
Adair said the board has been desperately trying to assist Mohip in his efforts to better the district for students, yet have been met with isolation “at every turn.”
“This is just another attempt to ignore the will of the voting public,” Adair said.
Mohip responded, “I’m not sure how soliciting input from the residents and business people in this school district is a bad thing.”
In addition, Mohip said when he asked the board to provide input on various issues a few weeks ago, it never responded.
The coalition wasn’t all Adair became passionate about during the meeting. She again complained about not getting a copy of minutes of the summer meetings in a more timely manner.
Treasurer Sherry Tyson responded, “I told you this before. I don’t have anyone helping me do these minutes anymore, and I’m doing them myself in the midst of the busiest months in my office.”
Adair again suggested the board hire a stenographer to get the minutes done quicker.
The board, however, no longer has hiring power.
House Bill 70 puts Mohip in control of the district, and the majority of its operations are under the auspices of a state academic distress commission, the district’s governing board.
Adair again questioned Tyson as to why she had yet to receive copies of the fiscal years 2016-17 and 2017-18 budgets despite her several requests.
Tyson responded she doesn’t do the budget. That is overseen by Mohip. The request for the 2016-17 budget was given to the district’s public records department.
Superintendent Joe Meranto followed Adair’s questions with a positive message about the start to the school year.
“I’ve been here nearly 14 years, and the start, so far, has been one of smoothest we’ve had,” he said.
“That is not what I heard,” she said. “That is not what I was told. In the last week, there were three fights at three different schools. Teachers are not sure what they are required to do. Teachers don’t have state standard curriculums and are being told to do what they think is best and make up some stuff.
“Last week there were no math teachers at East [High], however I just heard there were some hired this week. Staff members who have not demonstrated competency have been retained, promoted and given substantial raises. Where else but in Youngstown would something like this be allowed to happen?”
Mohip countered, “We are fully staffed with math teachers now. Before the start of the school year, teachers received seven days of professional development, including three full days of training in new instructional methods. Throughout the year, teachers will receive 18 full days for professional development and release time for planning. If someone is telling teachers just to make stuff up, we’d like to know who that is.”