During the flurry of legislative activity the last week of session before summer break, a non-controversial education bill (House Bill 70) was hijacked by extreme GOP leaders and the Youngstown Chamber of Commerce. Governor John Kasich along with these extremists included an amendment devised behind closed doors to help the state take over Youngstown City Schools. The “Youngstown Plan” was devised without any input from the elected school board, local elected representatives, community leaders, teachers or parents.

Call Governor Kasich today at (614) 466-3555 and urge him to Veto House Bill 70, the Youngstown Plan. After calling Gov. Kasich, please spread the word on Social Media using #OurYoungstown.

Hundreds gather to tell GOP this is #OurYoungstown

Hundreds gather to tell GOP this is #OurYoungstown

The biggest problem with the legislation is the possibility of it spreading to other school districts that are in “academic distress”- that is school districts that have received an “F” on their report card for three consecutive years. Once a district is considered in distress, the law allows the state superintendent to appoint three members to a “distress commission”. Two other members will be on the commission- one appointed by the local government executive and the other a teacher from a school. This commission will then be tasked with hiring a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to head up the schools. A huge deficiency in this plan is the fact the CEO is not required to have any education experience.

In the first year, the CEO would have full managerial and operational control over the district and would be responsible for working with the commission to collaborate with the community to craft an improvement plan that must be submitted to the state within 120 days of the commission being formed.

Call Governor Kasich today at (614) 466-3555 and urge him to Veto House Bill 70, the Youngstown Plan. After calling Gov. Kasich, please spread the word on Social Media using #OurYoungstown.

As the five-year process moves forward, the CEO gains more control in each year. By the third year he or she would be permitted to close schools and reconstitute them into community schools and could suspend collective bargaining agreements. Senator Joe Schiavoni from Youngstown is trying to bring stakeholders together to devise a plan out in the open that will benefit Youngstown City School kids and give community leaders the ability to be part of the solution. This type of top-down approach will not work in all school districts, and puts Ohio on a path to privatization of public schools.

“We all agree that our children deserve the best education we can provide them,” said Senator Schiavoni. “But, this plan is flawed and the concerns expressed today show there was not enough public input in putting the plan together in the first place. This is our community and everyone, especially parents and teachers, should be part of the solution. One person should not be given the power to make all the decisions. We all need to work together to improve the Youngstown schools.”

Call Governor Kasich today at (614) 466-3555 and urge him to Veto House Bill 70, the Youngstown Plan. After calling Gov. Kasich, please spread the word on Social Media using #OurYoungstown.