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Ohio Supreme Court To Hear Fight Over School Takeovers

Oct 23, 2019
Ohio Supreme Court Gavel statue
Flickr /

The Ohio Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday in a fight over how the state intervenes in repeatedly poor-performing school districts.

A Hilliard schools student completes classroom work with an iPad.
Columbus Neighborhoods / WOSU

The Ohio Senate Education Committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday on HB154, a measure that would overhaul the way the state handles failing school districts.

Pixabay

Ohio Senate Republicans have made several big changes to a House bill, HB154, that would repeal and replace the process used to takeover failing schools. 

The Lorain City School Board of Education and the district's state-appointed CEO, David Hardy, are locked in a legal battle. State lawmakers say this emphasizes the need for the legislature to overhaul academic distress commissions.

Karen Kasler / Statehouse News Bureau

Ohio’s high school graduation requirements are changing, with a new set of recommendations for incoming freshmen made by a group of businesses, a charter schools organization and some public schools.

The law also allows the state to take over academically distressed school districts was put on hold. Both of those provisions are in the new two-year state budget approved by lawmakers.

Gov. Mike DeWine, center, speaks between Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof, left, and Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder during the Ohio State of the State address at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday, March 5, 2019.
Paul Vernon / Associated Press

Ohio would cut personal income taxes by 4%, raise the age for buying tobacco products to 21 and direct $550 million for educational wraparound services such as mental health counseling under the state budget that lawmakers belatedly sent to Gov. Mike DeWine on Wednesday, hours before their extended deadline.

A national advocacy group is calling on lawmakers to prioritize the specific needs and challenges of students and education leaders of color as possible changes to the school takeover process are considered.

People opposed to state takeovers of local school districts are making a last-minute push to get rid of academic distress commissions through the budget bill.

A classroom at Cleveland's John Hay High School.
Ashton Marra / Ideastream

Dozens of people lined up to voice their opposition to state takeovers of local school districts through the so-called Academic Distress Commission. The Ohio Senate is considering legislation that could repeal and replace the system that has been in place since 2015.

Students in the classroom
Columbus Neighborhoods / 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.

New Columbus Schools superintendent Talisa Dixon talks to students at Trevitt Elementary in King-Lincoln.
Olivia Miltner / WOSU

In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss proposed changes to how the state reforms schools with poor academic performance. Andy Chow, a reporter for the Ohio Public Radio Statehouse News Bureau, joins the show.

Students in the classroom
Columbus Neighborhoods / WOSU

Lawmakers are looking over several different bills that would revise the way the state handles school districts in academic distress. There seems to be a consensus that changes are needed, but there seems to be a debate on exactly how to go about it.

Columbus City Schools District Office.
Nick Evans / WOSU

A bipartisan pair of Ohio House lawmakers are floating a plan that would do away with state takeovers of struggling school districts - a prospect currently facing Columbus City Schools.

School bus
Flickr / Creative Commons

Lawmakers didn't violate the Ohio Constitution or a procedural rule when they passed a law that shifted control of poor-performing school districts, the state argued in a new filing at the Ohio Supreme Court, which is considering a case challenging the law.

School districts like Hilliard have implemented iPads in the classroom.
Columbus Neighborhoods / WOSU

Democratic state lawmakers are using these last few weeks of session to try and eliminate school district takeovers by the state. This process has allowed the state to assign a CEO to take control of an academically failing district.

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