School & District Management

Paper Sues Cincinnati Schools Over Secretive Search

By Ann Bradley — November 06, 2002 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The Cincinnati Enquirer has sued the city’s school board and its new superintendent over the secretive process by which the superintendent was chosen for the job.

The newspaper filed a federal lawsuit on Oct. 24, alleging that its First Amendment rights were violated when the school board, Superintendent Alton Frailey, the board’s search firm, and four unnamed finalists for the post conspired to withhold information about the search. (“Cincinnati Search: Quick, Quiet, and Controversial,” Oct. 2, 2002.)

In a separate action, the newspaper filed a complaint before the Ohio Supreme Court, seeking to compel the district to turn over what it says are public records related to the search.

District officials, including former Superintendent Steven Adamowski, have said they believed that conducting a private search would yield a better pool of candidates than one that made finalists’ names public. Mr. Frailey was chosen Sept. 6 and is scheduled to start work this month.

After the paper’s editors refused to go along with a request to keep the finalists’ names private, the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati says, the school board and PROACT Search Inc. of Milwaukee took steps to avoid having to turn over résumés and related information to the newspaper.

Those steps, it says, included addressing memos to the finalists with fictitious names; instructing them to check into a local hotel under assumed names; reimbursing them in cash to avoid checks in their names; and using numbers rather than names on the board’s interview notes.

The newspaper contends that such actions violated the First Amendment and Ohio’s Public Records Act, which covers résumés of candidates for public positions.

“The new superintendent and the unnamed finalists were named as co-conspirators because we feel that without their participation in this plan, that wouldn’t have happened,” said Jack Greiner, the newspaper’s lawyer.

Scott Roman, the general counsel for the 42,000-student district, said last week that the district had received the lawsuits and was reviewing them.

Nancy R. Noeske, the president of PROACT, declined to comment.

In the complaint to the Ohio Supreme Court, which names the school board and PROACT, the newspaper asks that the court compel the board to produce all of the records the paper asked for in a July 12 request to the district. “The board and its agent have improperly transferred and/or disposed of certain of the records to avoid producing them,” the complaint says.

A version of this article appeared in the November 06, 2002 edition of Education Week as Paper Sues Cincinnati Schools Over Secretive Search


Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Mathematics Webinar
What is it About Math? Making Math Figure-Out-Able
Join Pam Harris for an engaging session challenging how we approach math, resulting in real world math that is “figure-out-able” for anyone.
Content provided by hand2mind
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Most Superintendents Try to Avoid Politics. This Group Encourages Them to Lean In
Superintendents increasingly face politically tricky situations. A new collaborative hopes to support them.
3 min read
Illustration of person riding a unicycle on a tightrope over shark infested waters.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images
School & District Management Superintendent of the Year Focuses on How to ‘Do More’ in Minnesota
The 2024 winner of the national honor didn't want to spend pandemic relief funds "in the way that we’ve always spent our money."
2 min read
Joe Gothard, superintendent of St. Paul Public Schools stands for a portrait at Como Park High School in St. Paul, Minn., on Aug. 21, 2021, where new federal school funding will help to hire staff, buy books and be used for building renovations.
Joe Gothard, superintendent of St. Paul Public Schools stands for a portrait at Como Park High School in St. Paul, Minn., on Aug. 21, 2021. Gothard was named the 2024 National Superintendent of the Year on Thursday by AASA, The School Superintendents' Association.
Andy Clayton-King/AP
School & District Management The Average U.S. School Building Dates Back to the End of the Vietnam War
New federal data highlight widely varying ages and offerings in school buildings nationwide.
4 min read
School Renovation in Washington Heights, Chicago
E+ / Getty
School & District Management Songs, Hugs, Haircuts: How Principals Make Morning Greetings Fun
How principals set the tone for the day with their morning announcements.
2 min read
Image of an educator greeting students for the day with a special handshake.