Today, state Sen. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), with educators, school board members and parents from across Ohio, called for an end to the state’s flawed school takeover system.
“We have to repeal state takeovers to position our schools for success and ensure our children are prepared for the future,” said Fedor. “Our communities are asking us to restore local democracy and we have to take action now before more students are left behind. This is the last chance for our voices to be heard and we urge the Governor to stand with us and end state takeovers.”
The group, with representatives from the Youngstown, Lorain, Toledo, Columbus, Canton and Dayton school districts, urged Governor Mike DeWine to ensure that the two-year state budget includes language from a bipartisan school improvement bill, House Bill 154. This proposal would return local control to the Youngstown, East Cleveland and Lorain school districts, which are currently under state control. It would also assist other struggling schools.
“It is our duty, as lawmakers, to ensure that every child in Ohio receives a quality education and has the tools they need to succeed,” said state Sen. Vernon Sykes (D-Akron). “The people of Ohio have made it clear that the status quo school takeover model undermines our communities and has negatively impacted the quality of schools in our most vulnerable communities. I urge my colleagues to stand with teachers, administrators, parents and most importantly, our children, by reforming the state school takeover model and supporting the provisions included in House Bill 154.”
The state’s school takeover system has faced extensive scrutiny from parents
, school districts
and the media
since it was passed in 2015. A recent analysis by the Plain Dealer
found that these takeovers have not improved struggling districts’ scores on state tests.
“HB70 has eroded the tenants of representative democracy which is the bedrock of American culture,” said Mark Ballard, President of the Lorain City School Board. “There is only one solution, return the voice to the people by repealing school takeovers and supporting HB154.”
The language backed by Fedor and school leaders was included in the House-passed version of the state budget, but was removed in the Senate. Lawmakers are currently negotiating a final version of the budget in conference committee and must approve it by a state-mandated June 30 deadline.
“We advocate for HB154 because we know it is the right method at this time. The only ditch that we find ourselves in is the one created by the state,” said Chris Varwig, Toledo Public School Board member.Click here
to watch the full press conference.