LORAIN — District CEO David Hardy didn’t attend the Lorain school board meeting Tuesday night, as he hasn’t attended any since taking the position last summer. And he doesn’t plan to start.
When asked if he would be attending the next board meeting Monday, Hardy said no but he would continue to give the board members any information requested of his office.
“I’ll continue to provide what they need from me as far as records and things like that are concerned, but I don’t answer to the school board,” he said. “I provide the information of what’s going on with our district during the town hall events that are hosted.”
Hardy was appointed the district’s CEO in July as part of a state takeover outlined in state House Bill 70. According to the legislation, the CEO has complete managerial and instructional control of a school district that has suffered from academic distress for several years.
The power left to the elected school board is the decision to place a levy or bond issue on the ballot.
Concerns about Hardy’s absence arose at the Tuesday night meeting, during which the board hoped to get a clear picture from him about the state of the district’s finances. This picture would guide them as they determine whether or not to place a $3.1 million renewal levy on the ballot.
However, without this financial report and recommendation from Hardy, the board members questioned if they could place something like that in front of the voters without all of the information.
School board President Tony Dimacchia said Hardy’s unwillingness to come to meetings shows his “dictatorship mentality.”
“He certainly doesn’t answer to us, but this shows that he doesn’t think he answers to anyone else, either,” Dimacchia said. “If people want to know why I’m filing all of these public records requests, this is why. He doesn’t have anyone to answer to, and it’s a major concern for the board and should be a major concern for the community.”
Dimacchia said Hardy “says a lot of words without really saying anything” and his approach to exercising his unparalleled power is “unfortunate because the district will be left to clean up after he’s gone.”
Hardy said he wants to be transparent throughout the transition process, but it might not be in a way in which everyone is accustomed.
“It’s not through a traditional meeting,” he said of his town halls. “It gives an avenue to give greater detail.”
Hardy’s next town hall meeting will be at 5 p.m. Thursday at Longfellow Middle School, 305 Louisiana Ave. The next school board meeting will take place at 5 p.m. Monday at Lorain High School, 2600 Ashland Ave.
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