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Ohio House Approves Bill To Repeal School Takeover System

Students in the classroom
Columbus Neighborhoods
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WOSU

The Ohio House has passed a bill that would end state takeovers of local school districts. The process, which has already taken over three districts, would be replaced with a different model.

Critics on the House floor blasted the state’s academic distress commission system that allows the state to take control of failing school districts.

The system was created in 2015 and has since been used in Youngstown, Lorain and East Cleveland. Opponents says it hasn’t proven to help.

State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) says the plan did not have enough local control and was rushed through the legislature.

“This vote will make sure that we mark the beginning of the end of an ill-conceived, destructive scheme,” says Lepore-Hagan.

The new plan, HB154, would help failing schools through what’s called the community learning centers model. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Two other bills are circulating in the Statehouse to change the takeover process. HB127 would prohibit the creation of any new academic distress commissions, and SB110 would modify the current process with changes that give more power to local officials.

Through the current process, the state appoints a CEO to lead an academic distress commission when a school district receives an “F” grade on their report card three years in a row.

According to the Ohio Department of Education, Dayton City Schools received its second-consecutive “F” grade in 2018.

The following districts received their first overall “F” in 2018:

  • Ashtabula City Schools
  • Canton City Schools
  • Columbus City Schools
  • Euclid City Schools
  • Lima City Schools
  • Mansfield City Schools
  • North College Hill City Schools
  • Painesville City Schools
  • Toledo City Schools