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Lorain school board member Tony Dimacchia among witnesses in House Bill 70 lawsuit

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    Tony Dimacchia

    PROVIDED PHOTO

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East Cleveland School Board and the State submitted their respective witness lists this week in an ongoing civil trial between the two, with East Cleveland naming a Lorain School Board member as a witness.

The latest district to fall under House Bill 70, East Cleveland is arguing the state report card that put it under the law was flawed and alleges Ohio Department of Education employees knew of possible problems with the district’s grading process. On the 2018 report card, East Cleveland schools received an overall F, as well as a failing grade in its performance index and value-added components.

Wednesday East Cleveland School Board filed its preliminary witness list, naming Lorain School Board vice president Tony Dimacchia and Youngstown School Board president Brenda Kimble. It states Dimacchia and Kimble may have knowledge of the impact of Academic Distress Commissions on Students, staff and the community.

Lorain, Youngstown and East Cleveland are the only districts under state takeover.

Others listed in East Cleveland School Board’s filing include State Superintendent -- and defendant -- Paolo DeMaria as its first witness. The filing alleges DeMaria may have knowledge about the state report card and collection of data, as well as procedures regarding Academic Distress Commissions and recommendations to improve ADCs. Officials within the Ohio Department of Education are named to attest to how the report card is created and data is collected. Other witnesses include Diana Whitt, East Cleveland Schools treasurer. The filing states Whitt “may have knowledge about the data reported by the district to ODE; the district’s report card performance and qualifications for an (Academic Distress Commission) and student performance within the district.” Tom Domzalski, principal for Shaw High School’s School of Law and Leadership, and former superintendent Myrna Loy Corley are also named.

East Cleveland is also calling expert witnesses Matthew Pohl and Jon Brasfield. According to the filing, Pohl has extensive experience in data warehousing, business analytics and the creation of reporting and analytical systems, and may provide an opinion on the report card in question. Brasfield has extensive experience with education research and measurement, and value-added calculations, and may provide an opinion on “the accuracy and reliability of the value-added component of the state report card, and the accuracy and reliability of ODE’s use of value-added to measure the performance of a school district.”

A day earlier, the State filed its preliminary witness list, which includes officials within the Ohio Department of Education who can attest to how the state report card is created and its data is collected. Among East Cleveland school officials named are Domzalski, Whitt, and Corley.

A trial date is set for Nov. 4 in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. 

Contact Carissa Woytach at 329-7245 or cwoytach@chroniclet.com.


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