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Education

Lorain school board president still seeking information in CEO search

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LORAIN — District school board President Tony Dimacchia sent a follow-up request email to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office about a public records request filed in August.

Although he received information from the Ohio Department of Education and the Academic Distress Commission, he hasn’t received any records from Atlantic Research Partners since filing the request three months ago.

“All this information should’ve been readily available to them, they should’ve had it,” he said. “I’m not sure what the delay is, but I thought it was time to send another follow-up, so I did just that.”

After David Hardy was named Lorain Schools’ CEO in July, Dimacchia filed a public records request for all resumes and applications for the position and communications related to the search.

Atlantic Research Partners President Jim Hager previously has said the company’s lawyers had reviewed Ohio Revised Code and could not find any statute that required the firm to reveal the candidates who applied for the position but weren’t selected as finalists.

“Atlantic’s legal counsel has gone through Ohio’s statutes governing a request of this nature and (found) no legislative acts that compel disclosure of confidential information independently gathered by a nongovernmental agency,” he had said. “Further, the confidential information apparently being sought is data that was never disclosed or submitted to a government entity and remains subject to contractual confidentiality language.”

However, this appears to conflict with the Ohio public records law, which states “a contract cannot nullify or restrict the public’s access to public records” and a “public entity cannot enter into enforceable promises of confidentiality regarding public records.”

The search for the CEO began after House Bill 70 was passed in 2015; the bill says that if a district is in academic distress and under the supervision of an academic distress commission for four years, the old commission will be disbanded and a new one will be appointed to hire a CEO.

Although Dimacchia said he respects the bill, he said there are questionable things he wants to get to the bottom of soon.

Contact Bruce Walton at 329-7123 or bwalton@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @BruceWalton.



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