Ohio’s Plunderbund blog continues to investigate the active involvement of Governor John Kasich and his staff along with the direct involvement of State Superintendent Richard Ross in the nine month negotiations for the state takeover of the Youngstown schools and in the future any district with three years’ of “F”ratings from the state. Plunderbund is examining a long-sought e-mail record to trace the involvement of the state superintendent and the governor, who have claimed for months that Youngstown’s leaders came to them demanding the state’s deeper involvement in running the local schools. The e-mail record Plunderbund is publishing demonstrates that Kasich and Ross instead came up with the idea and led the planning.
The idea, modeled on what happened in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, was to create in Youngstown an “achievement district” and to turn over particular schools or the entire district to a charter management company, thereby seizing the schools from the control of the elected local school board. Youngstown’s public schools, in the the heart of Ohio’s rust belt, serve a population of extremely poor students.
Beth Hansen, Kasich’s chief of staff at the time, was involved in the planning. Her husband, David Hansen, later fired from his job overseeing Ohio’s charter schools at the Ohio Department of Education due to his design of a charter school evaluation plan that favored Ohio’s notorious e-schools and “dropout recovery” charters, wrote the federal charter school grant proposal, later funded by the U.S. Department of Education, to underwrite the Youngstown takeover.