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Education


How does Cleveland fit under the state law governing failing schools?
Even the state seems less than certain about a state takeover
Story by NICK CASTELE


 
In The Region:

It’s been a day of some confusion surrounding the future of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. This morning, news broke the district was eligible for a state takeover because of the district’s consistently poor performance on annual reviews. But by the afternoon, the state said it was open to other options. Ideastream’s Nick Castele reports.

Castele on Cleveland school

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (1:16)


Under Ohio law, if a school district fails to meet standards for four years running and shows no improvement year to year, the district falls under the control of what’s known as an “academic distress commission.”

It’s a 5-member board with the power to fire administrative personnel and approve budgets, among other things. Three voting members are appointed by the state superintendent, and three by the head of the local school board.

Cleveland appeared to meet the criteria after it received a failing grade on a recent report card. Here’s education department spokesman John Charlton, speaking this morning.

“From the report cards and the annual yearly progress, they’re not getting the job done. They need to do a better job. And the focus needs to be put on the students and the children in the school district.”

By the afternoon, the department of education and the Cleveland school district put out separate statements saying they were open to other options.

The district says the state hasn’t yet sent a letter that would start the process of a takeover. And even if the letter were sent, the statement says, it doesn’t automatically mean forming a distress commission.

The Department of education says Cleveland’s transformation that received the blessing of the state legislature last year will weigh heavily in how it decides to go forward.  That plan gives administrators more power to fire teachers and allows the school CEO to cut or increase funding for schools.

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