Rep. Smith: Data Scrubbing Scandal Merits Official Investigation
Former school board member says superintendent conduct unacceptable
July 21, 2015
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State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today joined the growing chorus urging the state auditor to launch an official investigation into reports that officials at the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) illegally manipulated a key evaluation of charter school oversight agencies by omitting failing grades from many online charters.

In a letter sent to State Auditor Dave Yost yesterday afternoon, the Euclid lawmaker expressed dismay at the violation of the law by ODE officials, saying: “[appointees] have a duty to follow the law and execute their public responsibility to the benefit of the 11 million residents of our state. I do not believe the data scrubbing actions undertaken by certain ODE individuals is in the best interest of Ohioans.”

Rep. Smith, who served as member of the Euclid Board of Education for over a decade before joining the legislature, also today called on the State Board of Education to remove Superintendent Dick Ross due not only to the data scrubbing scandal but also his involvement in crafting the secret takeover of the Youngstown city schools, as reported in yesterday’s Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“As a 12-year Euclid City School Board Member, I was involved in many significant decisions that affected thousands of students. The more important the issue, the longer the board and the superintendent would deliberate and gather input from Euclid citizens,” said Smith. “If a superintendent ever would have crafted a plan in secret that affected as many lives as the Youngstown takeover, that superintendent would not have made it our next board meeting. Public school leadership requires at the very least the input of the public’s elected representatives, if not the general public itself.”

Smith also pointed out that the mayor of Youngstown is opposed the takeover of the Youngstown schools.

Over 5,000 students are enrolled in the Euclid public school system. Rep. Smith served as a member of the Euclid Board of Education from 2002 to 2013. He is a 4-time winner of the “Award of Achievement,” which is awarded annually to less than 3% of all school board members in Ohio. He was first elected to school board in 2001 and was re-elected in 2005 and 2009. 

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Cleveland-area Lawmakers Say Ohio Could "amp Up" Economic Growth Through Music Industry


State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Sarah LaTourette (R-Bainbridge) today announced a bi-partisan effort to create jobs and drive economic growth by making Ohio a destination for the recording industry. The Ohio Sound Recording Investor Tax Credit, also known as OhioSounds, will work to attract more of the almost $7 billion in annual music industry revenue to the state. 

“Ohio is the birthplace of legendary musicians, unforgettable songs and ‘Rock N’ Roll’,” said Rep. Smith. “OhioSounds honors our proud legacy and works to cultivate a winning model moving forward. Ohio can become a destination for musicians, producers and industry leaders who will create jobs and strengthen our local economies. The OhioSounds tax credit will solidify our commitment to Ohio’s musical heritage and create new music that will provide the soundtrack to our lives.”

“Much like the Ohio film tax credit, this legislation seeks to incentivize investment in Ohio and create jobs in a dynamic industry,” Representative LaTourette stated. “Northeast Ohio has seen quite an investment in response to the film tax credit, with major motion pictures filmed on the streets of Cleveland and throughout our region. Given our history as the birthplace of Rock n’ Roll, it just makes sense to extend that incentive to the music industry and embrace our heritage as musical innovators.”