YOUNGSTOWN – Today, Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) and Representative Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) joined parents, educators, and local leaders to announce a community-based bill crafted in response to the so-called “Youngstown Plan,” which went into effect on Thursday.


“This bill is the result of months of meetings with the community,” said Senator Schiavoni. “It reflects the opinions of the parents, educators, and local leaders who will be directly affected by the ‘Youngstown Plan.’ We created this legislation together. I’m confident that it will be more effective in educating Ohio’s children.“


Senator Schiavoni and Representative Lepore-Hagan held more than 20 meetings over the summer to gather opinions from a wide variety of Ohioans who will be affected by the new law.


“It is our responsibility to strengthen Youngstown City Schools to let children have the greatest opportunity to succeed,” Rep. Lepore-Hagan said. “With the highest concentration of poverty in the state, Youngstown faces significant challenges that can be addressed through the Community Learning Center model. Unlike the top-down CEO takeover, the CLC model leverages parent, teacher, and community involvement to provide critical wrap-around services such as health and dental care, dentistry and mental health services, and additional tutoring. By working together, we can transform our schools into true the hubs of our community.”


Senator Schiavoni’s bill addresses many of the most controversial aspects of the so-called "Youngstown plan." Some highlights of the bill are as follows:



  • Involves the Community in the CEO’s Improvement Plan

    • Changes the makeup of the Academic Distress Commission from 5 to 7 members to create greater balance between the Community and Columbus: 3 Superintendent appointees, 2 teachers, 1 parent, and one Mayoral appointee. 

    • Replaces the new law’s “Community Stakeholder Groups” with 11-member “School Action Teams” for each school building in the district. These will be made up of the building principal, teachers, non-teaching employees, and parents. School Action Teams must be engaged in the CEO’s actions and have a long list of specified duties, including developing a written parental-involvement policy. 



  • Adjusts Academic Expectations for the District, Clearly Defines Performance Standards, and Delays CEO Actions by 1 Year to Allow for Adjustment Time

    • Revises the criteria required for a district to transition out of Academic Distress to “a grade of C or higher on performance index OR value added” rather than an overall C.

    • Defines “high quality school” as it relates to the school accelerator and academic performance bonuses as having an “A” on either performance index or value added.

    • Delays CEO actions by 1 year, giving schools and teachers time to adjust and prepare.



  • Embraces the Original Intent of HB 70 – Community Learning Centers (CLCs)

    • The CEO must implement a CLC model in at least one of the buildings in the district.

    • Directs a portion of Academic Distress Commission funds to hire a district resource coordinator to help facilitate services to students and families. 



  • Ensures Transparency and Accountability with the CEO and District Improvement Plans

    • Meetings of the Academic Distress Commission and CEO are subject to open meetings and public records, and the CEO has to present the Improvement Plan in a public hearing before the community and annually thereafter.

    • The CEO has to have 10 years of educational experience and experience working in impoverished communities. 

    • If the CEO decides to close a school, there has to be a detailed “Closure Plan” that is also presented in a public hearing. 



  • Supports Educators and Staff

    • Removes the ability for the CEO to modify or alter collective bargaining contracts. 

    • Eliminates provision that would dissolve the elected school board.




“Our first choice would have been to repeal the ‘Youngstown Plan’ entirely and start from scratch on a community-based bill for our schools,” said Senator Schiavoni. “However, that is unlikely to happen. So it’s crucial that we make the existing plan as workable as possible. Ohio families and educators deserve to have a say in laws affecting their children’s education.” 


Senator Schiavoni and Representative Lepore-Hagan will introduce companion versions of the bill in the House and Senate next week.

 
 
 
  
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