Lorain School board, community push back against state control

LORAIN - Emotions ran high at a special Lorain City School Board meeting Monday night.

Gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich met with the school board to offer his advice on how to fight House Bill 70, which has been enacted in Lorain.

“I recommend two things. One, you can proceed with court action challenging the provisions of HB 70 that effectively removes power of the board. Two, this board and people in Lorain have the ability and the right to file charges against the CEO, put them in the form of a petition, get the requisite amount of signatures, and then submit to the Common Pleas Court of Lorain County for a decision,” said Kucinich.

The community is in upheaval since the district underwent a state takeover last summer.

Under the bill, a CEO was appointed with complete control of the district, which has been in academic distress for years.

“Unfortunately, with local control taken out of the board’s hands, our only authority is to levy tax dollars from this community. That’s a hard decision to make. We can’t make it if we don’t have any of the information we request, especially the finances,” said School board President Tony Dimacchia.

Both Lorain and Youngstown school districts are under state control.

“I am here to call for information to be shared with the community. I am here to fight against that top-down approach. I am here in favor of people having control over their schools,” said Betty Sutton, candidate for Lt. Governor.

The school board is saying they aren’t fighting the law, just asking for more transparency during this transition.

“I think it’s an attack on public education and it’s about time we step up and reach out to the governor and let him know this initiative isn’t working. It’s time to do something about it,” said Dimacchia.

Lorain’s CEO David Hardy was not in attendance.