In an exclusive and brief radio interview (click here to listen via 610WTVN) this morning, the Governor’s controversial appointee to the State Board of Education, former OSU QB Stanley Jackson, asserted that the charter school he is planning will open to students in the fall of 2013. That affirmation puts everyone involved, especially the Kasich administration, in a bit of a predicament.
Here are the latest details that you can only find here on Plunderbund:
- The Masters Preparatory Academy was incorporated in Ohio as a non-profit on May 24, 2o11
- The purpose of the business is listed as “Nonprofit charter school to serve the needs of high school (9-12) students in Ohio
- The school is intended to be located in Columbus (location yet to be determined)
- The Masters Preparatory Academy is an all African American male boarding school
- The school reports the involvement of both a CEO & COO, both of whom have education experience in the state of Ohio
- Stanley Jackson is listed on official documents as the Board President of The Masters Preparatory Academy
- The Ohio Department of Education (still) has no record of The Masters Preparatory Academy; the school is not on the list of 53 new charters scheduled to open in FY2013 (the 2012-13 school year is the most up-to-date record of new charter schools published by the Department of Education; Masters Prep is not on any list at the present time)
To be kind, either the Ohio Department of Education is confused or Stanley Jackson is. And let’s be honest, we’re not sure who to side with in such a situation. But here’s what we do know — the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) is very clear that Jackson cannot serve as both Board President for this charter school and as a member of the State Board. As we were the first to point out earlier this week, ORC 3301.03 states:
No elected or appointed voting member of the board shall, during the member’s term of office, hold any other public position of trust or profit or be an employee or officer of any public or private elementary or secondary school.
Something has to give in this situation. If Jackson is opening his school as he insists, then he must be engaging in the business of that school at the present time (recruiting students, securing funding, etc.), a fact that could be backed up as far as last May when the business was incorporated with the state of Ohio. Conversely, since the Ohio Department of Education does not recognize the school’s existence, the argument could be made that no business is occurring.
But according to statements by the Governor’s office, all of this information about Jackson was clearly known by Kasich and “his people” before this decision to appoint Jackson was finalized. The administration explained that other candidates were considered and that Jackson was thoroughly vetted prior to his appointment.
So, we’re left with a strange situation. If Jackson was indeed as forthright during the vetting process as he was during his radio interview (we have no reason to question his authenticity), then that would put the Kasich administration in the position of having knowingly appointed an individual in direct violation of Ohio Revised Code. And even if the school is not actually going to open (we have no reason to believe it will), then the administration is oddly bailed out by Jackson’s…failure(?) to get the school opened — an outcome that the Kasich administration could not have predicted.
So, is it possible to break a law by intending to break the law even if you didn’t actually break the law because someone intervened (but you were unaware they were going to interfere with your law-breaking)?
This is just another layer of questions that surround Kasich’s odd appointment to the State Board of Education that his spokesperson will be unable to answer in a story that seems to be unraveling more and more each day. At this point, either Jackson is opening a charter school and needs to excuse himself from the appointment, or he’s not opening a charter school and this story and the explanation for his appointment is full of lies.
And from our view, neither scenario should build much confidence in the Governor’s decision.
UPDATE: Kasich spokesperson, Rob Nichols, made the following announcement late today, “When [Stanley Jackson] returns to town, he will resign his position and affiliation with the school, which will happen before he becomes an official member of the school board.”
If the Kasich administration had known about the law and Jackson’s charter involvement when they appointed him, logic says they would have announced this on Tuesday instead of waiting for us to point it out (on Wednesday). This still leaves us with the obvious conclusion that Kasich, Inc., had no clue about Stanley Jackson’s work history or school involvement when he was vetted (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) for the position.