We reported yesterday that emails and documents released by ODE tie Dick Ross directly to the formation of the Youngstown Schools “cabinet” that eventually led to the takeover of the Youngstown City Schools, despite his testimony to the State Board of Education that the committee merely came to him for advice. More emails and documents continue to defy those claims, showing that Dick Ross was part of a very small group that began the process and initiated the formation of the cabinet and its members.
A follow-up phone call occurred on September 27 with even fewer individuals than on the September 14 phone call discussed in yesterday’s article. On September 27, the call included only Ross, Youngstown businessman Tom Humphries, and three individuals from Governor Kasich’s staff – Chief of Staff Beth Hansen, Legislative Liaison Jim Sheppard, and Director of Policy Wayne Struble. Humphries emailed the notes from that call:
The attached Excel file included multiple sheets with a log of events – including the meetings and calls that had occurred – along with details about who they were planning on appointing to the cabinet and a to-do list.
The creation of the list of potential members is interesting on a couple different levels. First, the obvious – not a single practicing teacher is anywhere to be found on the list. Second, while much time and thought appears to have taken place regarding politicians and business leaders, including already soliciting many commitments, parents in the district also remain up in the air.
Most interesting in this document, however, is the to-do list along with the individual responsible for carrying out the task:
We’ve highlighted the line to make sure everyone can see it. While Tom Humphries from Youngstown has responsibilities in confirming the members on the lead cabinet, Dick Ross clearly comes away from these early discussions with responsibilities for meeting with the “leaders” on the cabinet as a part of the formation of this group. For Dick Ross to tell the State Board of Education that this cabinet “came to him” for “help” and that he was involved in no other capacity is simply not true.
The truth of the matter is that Dick Ross, in direct collaboration with Governor Kasich’s office, was intimately involved in the creation of this group and the plan to take over the Youngstown City Schools from the very beginning.