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Education

House Democrats Want to Stop State Takeovers of Ohio Schools

photo of Kent Smith
ANDY CHOW
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
Rep. Kent Smith, a Democrat, says decisions should be left to local leaders and not the state.

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.

Youngstown and Lorain have been taken over by the state, and more districts, including Dayton, are on the chopping block. 

But these districts under academic distress have yet to see improved results.

House Democrats, including Rep. Kent Smith of the East Cleveland area which is in the process of being taken over, said these takeovers are part of a misguided “Columbus knows best” attitude.

“And they need to stop shortchanging kids as they continue to empower unsuccessful, unproven, unaccountable bureaucrats, instead of the local leaders who know their communities best,” he said.

Gov. John Kasich pushed for the takeover law in 2015. Supporters said it was needed in order to redirect struggling districts.

But this bill doesn’t appear to have enough support to get out of committee.