School board members blast Feb. 9 'private meeting'


A Youngstown Board of Education member called a Feb. 9 private meeting at East High “an egregious act.”

The meeting, called by Brian Benyo, Youngstown’s Academic Distress Commission president, was only open to those who received an invitation, Benyo said.

But school board member Jackie Adair said Tuesday the fact that the board of education was not invited was just another way to “marginalize” it.

“The meeting was described to me as a meeting of stakeholders,” she continued. “Are we who live in the city and pay property taxes not stakeholders? Who are they [Benyo and ADC member Jennifer Roller] to hold a private meeting in a publicly supported facility [East High].”

Brenda Kimble, school board president, was in attendance at the Feb. 9 meeting by invitation from Larry Ellis, Youngstown Education Association teachers’ union president.

“I was not invited by Brian Benyo,” Kimble said during Tuesday’s school board meeting. “Mr. Benyo called myself, Judge Theresa Dellick [of Mahoning County Juvenile Court] and the Rev. [Kenneth] Simon [community leader and pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church] ‘uninvited guests.’”

A Vindicator reporter waited outside the meeting door Feb. 9 after being told it wasn’t a public meeting. The Vindicator recognized other members of the public, who were also uninvited guests, who attended the meeting.

Kimble said that if the meeting were one of stakeholders, she saw no reason for Ron Iarussi, Mahoning County Educational Service Center superintendent, to be there.

Read more about the controversy in Wednesday's Vindicator or on

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