This is our reality:
Our community doesn’t trust past decisions we’ve made, because we aren’t bound to local oversight or held accountable by local representatives.
Without local oversight, our community has no confidence in how their tax dollars are being spent. Nearly, 100% of the families in the Lorain City Schools live in poverty — and every cent of their tax dollars is precious to them.
Internally, the consequences of HB 70 have created a culture of instability and uncertainty that has become increasingly disruptive. This has resulted in tremendous turnover in both district and building leadership, and with that type of uncertainty, comes turmoil.
As you can imagine, under these circumstances, it becomes incredibly difficult to attract and retain talented — not to mention qualified — staff.
In one of countless examples, the district lost its treasurer because he couldn’t support the lack of checks and balances that existed in the district. He had no functional control over the budget. While the position was posted for an extended period of time, not one licensed treasurer applied for the job.
When families lose trust in their schools, they vote with their feet and leave. Prior to receiving an ADC-appointed CEO, enrollment was relatively stable in the district for about 10 years. However, since that time, we’ve lost more than 10% of our student body.
In Lorain, SB 165 means that we can again empower our board of education to provide the oversight and accountability needed to restore community trust in our schools. In our district,
as in most places, we need our community, our families and our local leaders to collectively and collaboratively focus on and join us in meeting the needs of the children of Lorain.
We have laid the necessary ground work for a successful academic improvement, but without community buy-in and support, the execution of the plan will be exponentially and unnecessarily more difficult.
I’ve been championing this cause since becoming the CEO of the Lorain City Schools almost a year ago. So, as I’m sure you can imagine, I’ve been asked many times, what’s in it for me to restore local control? The short answer is, I will lose about $40,000/ year and absolute power and absolutely no oversight — but for all the reasons I’ve outlined, this is not how healthy organizations operate, and we have a lot of work to do.
Thank you for allowing me to submit my testimony, I would be happy to take any questions.