COLUMBUS—State Representative Steve Hambley (R-Brunswick) today provided sponsor testimony on House Bill 127, legislation to stop the state from taking over local school districts and privatizing local school boards. Representative Kent Smith (D-Euclid) is co-sponsoring this bipartisan bill.

“Good legislation takes time, due process, careful consideration, as well as input from all interested stakeholders,” said Hambley. “These are all of the characteristics that were missing in the final version of HB 70, which we are seeking to repeal.  For this reason, we are arguing to take consideration of HB127 in congruence with repeal-and-replace proposals, as a first-step of sorts. After all, a plumber does not fix a leaky pipe without first shutting the valve supplying the water.”

The passage of House Bill (HB) 70 in the 131st General Assembly fast-tracked the state takeover of local schools when districts receive three consecutive failing grades on state report cards. Under this law, failing districts are placed under the control of a state-run academic distress commission that installs an outside CEO to run the district instead of a superintendent or the publicly-elected school board. Currently, 10 school districts in Ohio have received one or two failing grades on their state report cards and are at high risk of falling under control of an academic distress commission.

An amendment to HB 70 enacted in the last General Assembly (Am Sub SB 216) requires the state superintendent to review all policies and procedures regarding academic distress commissions and issue a report to the General Assembly by May 1, 2019. The General Assembly must have time to adequately evaluate that report and make relevant changes to the current law that mandates the state-led takeover by ODE of these academically-challenged districts.

The proposed legislation by Rep. Hambley and Rep. Smith will provide an immediate and decisive cessation of state takeovers, returning control of Ohio’s school districts to local officials while the General Assembly considers a better solution to school restructuring.

The bill will not await its second committee hearing.

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Representative Hambley Appointed To Co-Chair Of Newly Created Economic Development Committee

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State Representative Steve Hambley (R-Brunswick) this week was appointed by Ohio House Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) to serve as Co-Chair of the Regional Economic Development Alliance Study Committee.