State board says repeal HB 70, and local board agrees


By Amanda Tonoli

atonoli@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Youngstown Board of Education members Tuesday discussed a recent meeting with the state board of education, which recently passed a resolution of nonsupport for House Bill 70.

“They unanimously passed a resolution to appeal HB 70,” said Brenda Kimble, Youngstown board president.

HB 70, also referred to as the Youngstown Plan, was signed into law by Gov. John Kasich in July 2015. It enabled a state-appointed academic distress commission to hire a CEO to lead the district with complete operational, managerial and instructional control. The goal is improved district academic performance.

But critics say control of school districts should stay with the elected school board, which in Youngstown now has an advisory role.

Board member Ronald Shadd and Kimble recently testified before the Ohio House of Representatives in support of House Bill 154, which would effectively repeal HB 70 and restore local control with state oversight.

State Reps. Joe Miller of Amherst, D-56th, and Don Jones of Freeport, R-95th, introduced HB 154, and state Reps. Michele Lepore-Hagan of Youngstown, D-58th, and Don Manning of New Middletown, R-59th, are co-sponsors.

The board agreed to meet May 28, the day before more testimony in the Senate in support of HB 154.

“I think people will see this is the right way to go,” Lepore-Hagan said when contacted after the board meeting. “We need to restore local control and reinvest in education. This is a really important issue. We need to get hold of it again and do what’s right for our kids. ... I’m glad they have an opportunity to tell the story to the Senate, and let’s hope the kids are the winners in the end of this and that we restore local control.”

Shadd agreed.

“We are really happy there is a consensus on that there needs to be something better done in education,” Shadd said.

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