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Youngstown School Chief's Business Ties With Chicago Company Raise Ethics Questions

Rep. John Boccieri

Two Democratic state lawmakers are asking the Ohio Ethics Commission to clarify what rules apply to the CEOs who now run two of the state's most troubled school districts.

The CEO positions were created as part of H.B 70, which allows the state to take over districts consistently in academic emergency.

Youngstown-area State Reps. John Boccieri and Michele Lapore-Hagan say a recent report that Youngstown City SchoolsCEO Krish Mohip got outside pay from a company linked with a new  school district program raises ethical questions.

Boccieri says the state needs to clarify if the CEOs must follow the same rules as other public officials.

“Do CEO’s who are now privatized by statute under the Ohio Revised Code, ... are there boundaries with respect to the ethics laws? Cause there aren’t any of the 600 superintendents in the state of Ohio who could do what was just done. They would likely be fired and moved out of office very quickly. So this is something we want to have a better understanding about,” said Boccieri.

In a lengthy statement, Mohip defended his connection with an afterschool  program called i-Ready, which  he says helped him "turn around some of the lowest performing schools in Chicago." The Youngstown District has paid more than $260,00 to Curriculum Associates for the i-Ready program at the same time an associated company, the Educational Research and Development Institute, has been paying Mohip consulting fees.

Mohip says he's been open about the consultation and that the relationship between the institute and Curriculum Associates is simply one of providing feedback.