LORAIN — An event at Black River Landing on Sunday celebrated the Lorain Schools community for its support over a challenging year, as well as the district's path back to local control.
Families could participate in a variety of activities throughout the day Sunday to learn something new and just have fun. A parade including the Lorain High School marching band and others opened the “TitanUp!” festivities at 2 p.m., and numerous activities kicked off at that time until the evening.
Inflatables and bounce houses were popular attractions for kids, as well as other games, food, free books and photo opportunities. Adults enjoyed live music, a car show and areas where information was available regarding resources for students.
Lorain Schools CEO/Superintendent Jeff Graham told attendees the event is possible because “we got through, I believe, the worst part of the COVID storm” together as a community.
He also described the festivities as a celebration of the pathway for Lorain Schools to regain local control of the district. Graham credited local lawmakers, especially state Sen. Nathan Manning, who introduced the legislation allowing the pathway.
Lorain, Youngstown and East Cleveland Schools are working toward the creation of individualized improvement plans and benchmarks with the state as part of Ohio’s biennial budget, allowing them to exit state control as established by House Bill 70 in 2015.
Ohio Reps. Gayle Manning. R-North Ridgeville. and Joe Miller, D-Amherst, both took the microphone Sunday to discuss the legislative process of getting Lorain Schools out of state control. Ohio Sen. Nathan Manning was out of state and could not attend, but his mother, Gayle Manning, gave some remarks on his behalf.
Graham also encouraged voters to pass a five year, 6.8-mill levy in November, which he said is not related to House Bill 70 but “a natural progression of how schools are funded.”
The levy, if passed, would generate about $4.1 million per year, costing the owner of a $100,000 home about $238 annually. It marks the first time the district has sought new money from voters since 2012.
“They said in Columbus that we didn’t have the capacity to take care of our own. We need to demonstrate that we do,” Graham said. “And I promise you that we will do it, and we will do it like we do everything else in Lorain, which is together.”
School board President Mark Ballard described teachers as the district’s greatest assets and recalled educators who impacted his own life from a young age. While celebrating the district’s victories, he said its future will be impacted by the involvement of the community.
“We’ve now convinced them (in Columbus) that we can control and manage ourselves. But we can’t do that without engagement of the parents, the clergy, the political officials, the unions and everyone who works hard for our students,” Ballard said.