State Reps. Joe Miller (D-Amherst) and Don Jones (R-Freeport) today introduced bipartisan legislation to end state takeovers of local schools. Three districts, including Rep. Miller’s own Lorain City Schools, are currently under state control, while ten districts across the state could potentially join them over the next two years.
“Ohio’s promise of better lives and brighter futures begins in the classroom,” said Miller. “The failed state takeover experiment has shown we can’t impose a one-size-fits-all model for turning schools around. Instead, we need to give communities the tools to build success themselves.”
Under Miller’s bill, Academic Distress Commissions would be dissolved, restoring local control over public schools and moving toward a building-based, bottom-up reform model. Low performing schools would be empowered to provide coordinated support services like after-school enrichment and social/health services, a model Miller believes will better help students maximize their potential.
“I’m happy to get this legislation introduced,” said Rep. Jones. “This bill has bipartisan support, as well as support from the OEA and local school boards. Education is why I came to Columbus, and this issue is a prime example of something that needs fixed. I’m grateful for everyone coming together to find a solution, and ensure our children are receiving a quality education.”
Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) represents the Youngstown City School District, one of the three districts currently under state control, and is lending her support to the bill.
“This bipartisan legislation will end the failing Academic Distress Commission system and restore our district’s control to the democratically-elected school board,” said Lepore-Hagan. “We need an effective, evidence-based turnaround model that allows children and teachers to truly have the opportunity they need to succeed.”
“Colleagues on both sides of the aisle see that HB 70’s so-called reforms aren’t working—in Youngstown, Lorain and East Cleveland. In the wake of charter school corruption and these failed takeovers, now is the time to invest in our future by investing in our public schools,” added Lepore-Hagan. “The Youngstown City School District has suffered under our former governor’s disastrous plan for too long, and I look forward to finally passing a real solution.”
The bill will now be sent to the House Rules and Reference Committee, where it will receive a bill number and committee assignment.