[EDITOR'S NOTE — This story has been updated to correct that Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber President and CEO Tom Humphries later told Mahoning Matters he was unaware of the meeting and didn't plan on participating.]
YOUNGSTOWN — Local leaders are expected to meet Saturday at Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel's Pollock House residence to discuss HB 154, according to a news release from Rev. Ken Simon.
Tressel, Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber President and CEO Tom Humphries and YSU Provost Brien Smith were expected to attend, according to the release — though Humphries later told Mahoning Matters he was unaware of the meeting and didn't plan on participating.
In the release, Simon asks, "Why is this secret meeting being held at a time when Ohio General Assembly is finalizing changes to HB 154 and is on break for the holidays?"
HB 154 aims to reform HB 70, referred to as the Youngstown Plan, which put failing schools under control of the state. HB 154 would restore local control of Youngstown City Schools.
State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan of Youngstown (D-58), who said she was invited by Tressel and State Sen. Michael Rulli of Salem (R-33), confirmed that she would attend the meeting. But she's not interested in taking action in "backroom deals."
"Whatever comes out at the meeting, I will totally make it public," Lepore-Hagan told Mahoning Matters
She supports HB 154 and wants it to stay as is.
Rep. Don Manning of New Middletown (R-59) also plans to attend.
"I am wide open to discussions and sharing ideas to make sure we pass the best legislation possible," Manning said.
Tressel did not respond to request for comment. Humphries said he was unfamiliar with the subject of the meeting but opposes HB 154.
Tressel, Humphries and Bishop George Murry of the Youngstown Catholic Diocese were credited with the creation of HB 70 in 2015.
The meeting will take place Saturday at 8 a.m. at the Pollock House.