COLUMBUS- State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today issued the following statement in response to the Ohio Supreme Court Ruling in Youngstown City School District Board of Education et al. v. the State of Ohio:

“I am extremely disappointed in the Ohio Supreme Court ruling that preserves HB 70. The majority’s decision, like everything about the legislation that created the ‘Youngstown Plan,’ is ill-considered and runs counter to our state’s constitution. I would like to thank Justices Donnelly and Stewart for their thoughtful and well-reasoned dissenting opinions. They’re right. This is a ‘travesty of justice.’

Let me be clear. HB 70 was the weapon John Kasich created to make good on his threat to kill the Youngstown Public School system and urban districts like it. Those who conspired with him to draft the legislation behind closed doors without input from the residents of the city, teachers, parents, students, or community leaders, are complicit in an ongoing farce that has robbed citizens of their Constitutionally-guaranteed right to elect their leaders and trapped thousands of students in a failed system. This now includes the Republican majority on the Ohio Supreme Court.

If the Youngstown Plan isn’t good for Columbus, or Dayton, or Toledo, or the other school systems that were about to be placed under the control of unelected, autocratic academic distress commissions and unaccountable CEOs, why then do the Republicans who control state government think it’s acceptable to leave students in Youngtown marooned in Kasich’s scheme?

They refuse to answer that question. Just as they refuse to explain why the citizens of Youngstown, Lorain, and East Cleveland should be the only Ohioans stripped of their right to choose who will manage their schools and educate their kids.

Today’s misguided ruling by the Supreme Court does not mark the end of the battle to erase HB 70. The Senate Republicans and Governor DeWine have the power to set thousands of boys and girls free by moving HB 154.

Justice demands that they do so immediately.

While I am dismayed by today’s ruling, I am not discouraged and I will not be deterred. I will continue to work with the hundreds of community and faith leaders, teachers, parents, and students who are committed to restoring local control of the Youngstown City Schools. We will not stop fighting until we achieve that goal.”


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