Stripped of power, Youngstown School Board objects to CEO’s leadership

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The Youngstown School Board has made itself clear — multiple times — about its dislike for House Bill 70 and the subsequent takeover by CEO Krish Mohip. Tuesday night, it passed a resolution officially objecting to Mohip’s management of the district and urging him to exercise fiscal and educational prudence.

Not that it means much, since the state legislature has already given Mohip total control of the schools.

Still, passing the resolution was not easy. It took nearly half an hour of — at times — heated debate.

The vote was a resolution on Mohip’s fiscal policies, especially his appointment of what the resolution stated was 72 managerial or administrative positions.

“We do have all kinds of chiefs and no Indians,” said board member Jackie Adair.

Board members Dario Hunter and Corrine Sanderson objected to the resolution.

“This paper, the words, don’t mean anything. Everyone knows we’re upset about the fiscal situation with the school district,” Sanderson said.

“How does the leadership of this board feel that it has the moral authority to engage in this constant parade of finger wagging when the board itself has failed the kids and the community time and time again?” Hunter said.

Board member Ron Shadd, however, was in support.

“We can clearly show that the spending hasn’t been done in the classroom,” he said.

But when Shadd brought up Hunter’s recent run for Youngstown Clerk of Courts, he was interrupted.

“Point of order. We’re veering off now into personal attacks,” Hunter said.

“It’s not a personal attack, it’s fact,” Shadd responded.

Even the usually quiet Mike Murphy got involved.

“Get off your soapbox, get off your soapbox! The election’s over, the election’s over,” he said.

When all the shouting ended, the Youngstown School Board voted 5 to 2 to pass the resolution of objection and concern with the way the district is being run financially — with Sanderson and Hunter abstaining.

CEO Krish Mohip released the following statement about the board’s resolution Tuesday night:

As we’ve said before, the five-year forecast is a living document. We have no intention of allowing a deficit to manifest. Spending has been slightly higher these last two years because we had to shore up the weaknesses in the district — from leadership to instructional practices.

What does this district have to show for all of that money? Families were leaving the school district in droves, withdrawing students from YCSD and enrolling them instead in charter schools and using vouchers and open enrollment opportunities to enroll them in private and surrounding public schools, respectively. That came at a cost of $30 million per year. I welcome the competition that charters and open enrollment bring, and I will continue to make the decisions needed so that we can outperform all other options in the near future.

Yes, this district has spent more money since I got here by just a few percentage points of the overall budget. But our test scores are improving, our children have more opportunities than they have had in a long time, and families are beginning to come back. I think that’s a pretty good return on our investment.”