YOUNGSTOWN - State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today joined Sen. Michael Rulli (R-Youngstown) in calling for action on House Bill (HB) 154, a bill that, as passed by the Ohio House of Representatives, would end Academic Distress Commissions and restore local control of public schools.

“House Republicans and Democrats worked collaboratively and swiftly on a bill that would save our kids in Youngstown, East Cleveland and Lorain. We made our public schools, our local communities and our children a priority,” said Lepore-Hagan. “It’s been months now and too many lawmakers are not taking this issue as seriously as they should. Where is the urgency in the Ohio Senate?”

With overwhelming support, HB 154 passed the Ohio House in May 2019. Hearings on the bill in the Ohio Senate Education Committee, however, have stalled since late September. Additionally, after several iterations and drastic changes, the latest version of HB 154 diverts from the legislation’s original intent, instead maintaining the state takeover model. Efforts by the Ohio House to end Academic Distress Commissions most recently included an amendment to Senate Bill (SB) 89, which will now be taken up in conference committee.

“The ‘Youngstown Plan’ is a failure. No more distractions or diversions— enough is enough. Ending Academic Distress Commissions must be our top priority,” said Lepore-Hagan. “It doesn’t take a lot of courage to do what is right for the people of this state, but this seems to be lacking in Columbus. We need more Republican Senators to be willing to step up and fight for our kids.”

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