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East Cleveland Schools Win Right To Continue Fight Against State Takeover

Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Kim Brown ruled that the East Cleveland City School District can continue its civil suit against the Ohio Department of Education to prevent the district from being taken over by an academic distress commission. 

The judge also ruled that the Department of Education must turn over data to the school district. 

The district filed the suit last September shortly after the state ordered the takeover. In the suit, the district said it was making progress, blamed changes in state tests for its continued overall F in state rankings, and said that the state had made mistakes in coming up with the failing grade. 

In a press release, the district accused the state of selectively using performance data, alleging that an Ohio Department of Education administrator said, "there are winners and losers depending on what data are used to calculate the grade." Based on Judge Brown's ruling, the district will now have access to some data that had been withheld by ODE. 

East Cleveland is one of three districts in Ohio under state control, joining Youngstown and Lorain. 

As the East Cleveland district presses the case, the East Cleveland Academic Distress Commission chose its CEO on Friday. Henry Pettiegrew, a 41-year-old assistant superintendent in Maple Heights, was chosen by the commission, and he promised to work to overcome the community's skepticism to the work of the commission.  

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