Sunshine law suit against South Range going forward

From Salem News A scheduling order has been established in the case against the South Range school board claiming a Sunshine Law violation.

A hearing on status was held last month in front of Mahoning County Magistrate Thomas Gacse where a mediation conference was set for 10:30 a.m. March 1 and trial to court at 9 a.m. May 3.

Resident Richard Ferenchak filed the complaint on April 8 claiming the board violated the Sunshine Law when it initially appointed Amy White to replace Bruce Zinz, who resigned in February. White subsequently resigned that appointment and the board appointed her again a month later.

Ferenchak and the Youngstown Vindicator criticized the board for violating the Sunshine Law, which prohibits any decisions being made in executive session, after White's nameplate was observed on the board's table prior to the first appointment. Ferenchak had asked that the appointment be overturned and a fine levied against the board for the violation.

The board maintains that no Sunshine Law violation occurred since the vote to appoint White was made in public.

Further complicating the matter, the unexpired term vacated by Zinz is up for election in November, but White will run for one of the full-term seats instead. Ferenchak is one of four residents running for the unexpired term.

School Treasurer Jim Phillips said that he is unaware of how the case will affect the school board and district once it is settled.