Top democratic lawmakers in both the House and Senate today called on the State Board of Education to dismiss Superintendent Dick Ross, citing the recent scandal involving the cover up of failing charter school grades in state evaluations, the plan to takeover the Youngstown public schools crafted behind closed doors, and general lack of accountability to the State Board of Education and the public.
The lawmakers released the following statements today:
“Under Superintendent Ross’ leadership, the Department of Education has shown a severe lack of transparency and a disturbing disregard for the law,” said Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman). “In just the past week we learned that his department broke the law by hiding the failing grades of some online charter schools run by political friends of the administration. Superintendent Ross also failed to inform state school board members—the people he works for—that he was meeting behind closed doors to plan a CEO takeover of the Youngstown School District. Clearly, he can no longer be trusted to lead the department responsible for educating our children. I urge the state board to take appropriate action to relieve him of his duties.”
“The Department of Education under the direction of Superintendent Ross has suffered from a systemic lack of transparency and accountability,” said House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “Ohio families deserve to have honest and accountable leadership overseeing the schools that are responsible for educating their children. I believe the State Board of Education needs to take swift and decisive action by removing the current failed leadership.”
“The data-scrubbing of failing charter schools from state evaluations is only the tip of the iceberg in the blatant disregard for the law exhibited by the superintendent and his Education Department officials,” said Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), ranking member on the House Education Committee. “The Ohio constitution does not allow for a rogue superintendent to operate outside the purview of the State Board of Education, but that is exactly what is happening. The superintendent has failed as a leader for our children and their future. The latest corruption in the Department of Education goes all the way to the top, and I urge the state school board to convene a meeting immediately to root it out.”
“It is with deep regret that I join the call for the State Board of Education to remove Superintendent Ross. I have always had great respect for Dr. Ross, but recent events have caused him to lose my trust and the trust of many Ohioans,” said Sen. Tom Sawyer (D-Akron), ranking member on the Senate Education Committee. “At this point, it is clear that Dr. Ross was either in on recent events, or he was totally out of it. Either way, he no longer enjoys the broad confidence needed to serve in such a crucial capacity. I am left with little choice but to ask for his removal.”