Board struggles with lack of power under Youngstown Schools CEO

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The Youngstown School Board met for the second time Tuesday night since being relegated to an advisory committee, and most members were not happy about their lack of power under CEO Krish Mohip.

For the most part, the meeting was a chance for the board, and the public, to vent.

Not even two minutes into the meeting, board member Dario Hunter voiced the first salvo about what would be discussed, including:

“The hiring of a reporter from the Vindicator, who has gone from being a vocal critic of the district’s performance to becoming its hired, paid spokesperson,” he said.

Hunter was referring to Denise Dick, a reporter who covered the Youngstown Schools and is now employed by the Mahoning County Educational Service Center. She’s taken over external communications for the Youngstown Schools.

“I brought on some more support so that communication within this district can be improved, and that’s what we’re working to do,” Mohip responded.

Mohip said he’s been to 28 community meetings in the past month and the lack of communication is brought up often. Some board members and the public also had issues with communication.

“I feel like we’re being shut out of information. I’m reading everything in the paper before I get it,” said board member Michael Murphy.

Jakeista Cundiff, a parent, said she wants two weeks notice prior to any meetings.

During the last board meeting, three members walked out because Mohip was setting the agenda. So Tuesday’s meeting was split into two parts – the board meeting, followed by a presentation from Mohip.

“I want to make it clear, I’m not delegating any power or any authority to this board,” he said.

At the end of the meeting, Hunter reiterated issues he wanted Mohip to address – violence at East High School, security and transportation.

When Mohip said he was just taking notes, Hunter had a strong response:

“Your disdain for the representatives of the public in trying to get to the root of some of the nefarious things happening in this district, that speaks volumes, Mr. Mohip.”

Mohip said he wasn’t prepared to discuss any of those issues.

After its meeting, the board broke into executive session and Mohip was not invited. Only four members stayed for Mohip’s meeting afterwards – Brenda Kimble, Michael Murphy, Ron Shadd and Jerome Williams. Dario Hunter, Jackie Adair and Corrine Sanderson did not.