Bill to end state takeovers of schools passes Ohio House

LORAIN, Ohio -- A bill that repeal part of controversial House Bill 70 has passed overwhelmingly in the house Wednesday,

Lorain City Schools Board of Education President Mark Ballard reacted to the news saying, “Both sides coming together at a 83-12 margin, that is really unheard of in a bipartisan way in Ohio. This is a win."

The bill would dissolve academic distress commissions for districts currently under state control by HB 70, including Lorain, East Cleveland and Youngstown.

State Rep. Joe Miller of Amherst, a democrat, introduced the legislation along with Representative Don Jones of Freeport, a republican.

“It was a bit surprising to be honest. It was a bipartisan bill and education should be a bipartisan effort. That is not always the case, ” said Miller.

According to Miller, the bill will require local boards of education to establish improvement plans for low-performing schools, including adding more wraparound services like after-school programs and social and health services.

“Schools are struggling with other issues that we don’t even associate with the classroom and those are things that we need to identify. Our bill allows that to happen in a building based, bottom up locally controlled, locally implemented system,” said Miller.

According to Ballard, Lorain already had an improvement plan in place before the state took over.

“To give back local control is the democratic thing to do. House Bill 70 is unconstitutional, undemocratic. If you don’t like what your school board is doing, you vote them out. But to take our dollars and our buildings and our students and put them in a dictatorship was never a fair thing to do,” said Ballard.

The bill now moves to the Senate.

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