Browsing: Community

Community Ohio State School Board members (from left) Bryan C. Williams, Mark Alan Smith, C. Todd Jones and Sarah Fowler at the Oct. 7, 2013 meeting of the board in Columbus

What is a clear conflict of interest for an Ohio state legislator is not so clear for a member of the State Board of Education. Four state school board members have business and private interests that compete directly for education dollars. Two are lobbyists, one is married to a lobbyist, and another benefits from public money given to the Christian college where he is president for post-secondary education. When it comes to the state school board, “Lobby law is silent,” said Paul Nick, executive director of the Ohio Ethics Commission.

Community Group_WEB

The Ohio State School Board is one of three hybrid boards in the nation. The board has 11 elected and eight appointed members. Prior to 1995, the 11-member board was entirely elected. Now, with more governor appointments, the board has lost its independent nature. The Beacon Journal in Akron and The News Outlet based at Youngstown State University explore the workings of the board that directs education in Ohio.

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The State School Board of Education has focused its attention on more school choice in Ohio. Proponents say more choice will lead to competition and result in better quality schools. They also say parents are capable of making informed choices on where their children should go to school. Opponents of expanded choice say it’s hard for parents to make an informed choices when they are inundated by road signs, TV and radio ads, robo-calls and mailers. They also say private and for-profit schools don’t face the same level of accountability as their public school counterparts.

Community Henry Scott Jr. of Youngstown, who served 15 years on a felony sex charge, has worked at Comprehensive Logistics for three years. He now helps others felons find jobs. Jessica Mowchan/

Employers in Ohio, as well as across the nation, are likely to overlook skilled applicants because of felony backgrounds. This type of hiring discrimination happens all the time. This is despite a recent state law that allows employers to be immune from prosecution should they hire someone who goes on to commit a crime.

Audio The City of Youngstown is investigating criminal charges against the out-of-state landowner of Parkway Tower. There are several code violations that the owner hasn’t addressed. Shee Wai Wong/

A city landmark in downtown Youngstown is having some legal trouble. The building owner, an out-of-state investment group, is taking time to deal with its housing violations on the property. Shee Wai Wong tells us the story behind the building.

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