Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) calls for a moratorium to the state takeover of local schools. (Andy Chow | Statehouse News Bureau)

House Dems Call For Halt To State Takeovers Of Local Schools

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Democrats 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 all been taken over by the state, and more districts, such as Dayton, are on the chopping block.

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

House Democrats are pushing for Republican leadership to take a vote on HB626 which would put a moratorium on these takeovers to evaluate the process and to see how a current court battle plays out.

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

“And they need to stop short-changing kids as they continue to empower unsuccessful, unproven, unaccountable bureaucrats, instead of the local leaders who know their communities best,” says Smith.

Gov. John Kasich pushed for the takeover law in 2015. Supporters said it was needed in order to redirect struggling districts. Kasich has said in the past that he would veto any attempt to put a moratorium on the takeover system.

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