Wednesday, September 8, 2010


The Stark County Political Report believes something "political" is going on with the Canton City Schools in the context of at least some members of the school board. 

And if there is a school district in Stark County that needs to be especially diligent to keep politics out of its decision making, it clearly is the Canton City Schools.

The district as evidenced by its current performance report done by the Ohio Department of Education (see below) is struggling big time.

Yesterday, Melissa Griffy Seeton of The Canton Repository dropped a bombshell.  In Canton City Schools Board Vote in Question, Griffy Seeton describes the failure of school board officials to notify the general public (as required by Ohio's Open Meetings law) of a board meeting held on June 10, 2010.

The June 10th meeting was to interview candidates to replace the outgoing James Carman, Jr. who has moved out of the Canton City district.

Griffy Seeton reports that the successful candidate (Wilbur Allen, III) coming out of the - perhaps - "illegal" June 10th board meeting, is an employee of the Canton mayor's office.


So the question becomes:  why the notice problems with the meeting?

Griffy Seeton reported that Board President Nadine McIllwain said:
“It was my understanding that the board did not have to have a public meeting for the interviewing of candidates.  My impression was that it was exempt.”
Sounds to The Report like McIllwain was looking for justification for not having a public meeting.  Public officials should be looking in the other direction.  A decision not to notice the public when elected officials assemble should be based on something stronger than an impression.

 "My impression was that it [the meeting] was exempt" [from the notice requirement].

Impression from whom?  Names please, Ms. McIllwain?

A source tells the SCPR that McIllwain is aligned with board members Eric Resnick, and now Allen (connected to McIllwain at Coming Together) as political allies with Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II.

Hmm?  Allen:  a Mayor Healy (Canton city administration) employee? Resnick: whom The Report also knows to be a Healy ally.  McIllwain:  whom the source says is a Healy supporter.

Interesting connections, no?

A Mayor Healy connection always merits further scrutiny.

What does a mulling over the connections suggest?

The SCPR suspects that Mayor William J. Healy, II is working behind the scenes to gain de facto control of the Canton City Schools. 

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) is under the control of Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson.  And we all know what pathetic shape the Cleveland schools are in.

The website describes the relationship between Mayor Jackson and the Cleveland schools as being:
Cleveland’s current school governance structure was created by Ohio House Bill 269 in 1997, and took effect September 9, 1998.  The Board of Education is made up of nine voting members appointed by the Mayor of Cleveland from a slate of nominees selected by a local nominating panel, established under State law.   At least four of the nine members must have significant expertise in either education, finance, or business management.  Board members must be residents of the School District, and at least one of the nine members must reside in that part of the School District that is outside the City of Cleveland (Bratenahl, Linndale, Newburgh Heights, and parts of Brook Park and Garfield Heights). 
State law also provides that the presidents of Cleveland State University and Cuyahoga Community College serve as nonvoting ex officio members of the Board.
Why would Healy aspire to gain de facto control of the Canton schools?

The Report's analysis:

Could be for one or or a combo of several reasons.  One could be to divert attention away from the huge problems with Canton government finances as he has to stand for re-election next year.  Another might be to satisfy his huge ego ("Gee, if Mayor Jackson controls Cleveland's schools, why aren't I in charge of Canton schools")  Or, maybe he genuinely thinks he can help drag the Canton schools out of the educational doldrums.

Could it be that this meeting-noticing snafu is the beginning of a revelation that Mayor Healy is a man behind the curtain a la the Wizard of Oz?

Does anyone believe Allen's tale that he showed up at the June 14th meeting with his family unaware that he was going to be appointed to the board?

And there is the account of applicant William Smith (in an interview with The Report) that he was vanished from consideration merely because he could not attend notwithstanding that the board knew that Smith had a three month standing family obligation to attend to.

The SCPR believes that one thing readers might garner from Griffy Seeton's account is that the "fumbling, bumbling" was tied to some kind of sensitivity of somebody (if not, somebodies) in the mix.

Now the question is getting to the bottom of the real story.

It seems to the SCPR that there has to be more to the notice debacle than appears on the surface.  And Healy taking control via proxies of the Canton City Schools may well be the answer.

The SCPR has long contended that Mayor Healy is a calculating, manipulative politico who cares more about his political status and future than the well being of government and the public confidence and trust in government processes.

If the SCPR is correct in surmising that Healy is a Wizard behind the curtain of of the Canton City Board of Education action in appointing Allen;  such should be a surprise to no one!

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