Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about HB70 and CEO: What Does it all Mean to Our Schools?

  • What is the history of how did we got here? 

    The Lorain City Schools has had a Lorain Academic Distress Commission (LADC) since March of 2013. The LADC is a joint school district and state panel that steps in to try to fix schools when they have been declared in academic emergency and have failed to make adequate yearly progress for four or more consecutive years.


    What progress did we need to see to show we’re improving? 

    The Lorain City Schools needed to achieve C’s in both Value Added and Performance Index on both the 2015 and the 2016 Local Report Card.


    What’s at stake by not reaching those goals?

    Failure to meet the goals established by an ADC results in some major changes, such as hiring a CEO to run the district, promoting more charter schools, possible mayoral control and possibly overriding parts of union contracts.


    Which districts does this affect? 

    Both the Lorain and Youngstown school districts have Academic Distress Commissions running their schools, but only Youngstown has been affected by HB 70 to this point.

    Since Lorain's grades did not improve, a new Academic Distress Commission with new powers was created by April 7, 2017 (see full timeline below).


    How will things change in the first year?  

    The current Lorain Academic Distress Commission was dissolved, and a new one created. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria approved three members, one of which must be from Lorain County. Lorain School Board President Tim Williams appointed one member, who must be a teacher. Mayor Ritenaur appointed the fifth.

    Named to the commission by State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria are:

    * Patricia O’Brien, Executive Director, The Stocker Foundation;

    * Anthony Richardson, Program Officer, The Nord Family Foundation

    * Michele Soliz, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President, Student Success and Inclusion, University of Toledo


    Named to the commission by Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer is:

    * John Monteleone, Assistant Superintendent, Oberlin City Schools


    Names to the commission by Lorain City School District Board President Tim Williams is:

    Steve Cawthon, LHS Social Studies Teacher and Department Chair

    Note: On 07/20/17 Cawthon replaced Dorinda Hall, Academic Instructional Coach, Lorain City Schools


    What is the timeline for Year 1? 

    The Ohio Department of Education has provided the following timeline:

    March 7, 2017: State superintendent creates the Lorain Academic Distress Commission (ADC).

    March-April 7, 2017: Appointments are made to the Lorain ADC by the state superintendent (three appointments, with one being a county resident); the mayor of the city of Lorain (one appointment); and, the president of the Lorain City Schools District Board of Education (one appointment). (see appointments, above)

    May 26, 2017: State superintendent appointed Anthony Richardson as the Commission Chair.

    Within 60 days of chair's appointment: ADC appoints David Hardy as CEO of the District.

    Within 30 days of CEO's appointment: CEO convenes a diverse group of community stakeholders to develop expectations for academic improvement in the district.

    Within 90 days of CEO's appointment: CEO convenes a small group of community stakeholders for each school.


    Who will be in control? 

    Within sixty days after the State Superintendent has designated a chairperson for the Academic Distress Commission, the commission will appoint a CEO for the district, who is paid by the Ohio Department of Education and reports to the commission. The CEO will have the authorities of both a Superintendent and Board of Education, with complete operational, managerial, and instructional control of the district, including:

    (a) Replacing school administrators and central office staff;

    (b) Assigning employees to schools and approving transfers;

    (c) Hiring new employees;

    (d) Defining employee responsibilities and job descriptions;

    (e) Establishing employee compensation;

    (f) Allocating teacher class loads;

    (g) Conducting employee evaluations;

    (h) Making reductions in staff under section 3319.173319.171, or 3319.172 of the Revised Code;

    (i) Setting the school calendar;

    (j) Creating a budget for the district;

    (k) Contracting for services for the district;

    (l) Modifying policies and procedures established by the district board;

    (m) Establishing grade configurations of schools;

    (n) Determining the school curriculum;

    (o) Selecting instructional materials and assessments;

    (p) Setting class sizes;

    (q) Providing for staff professional development.

    By law, the only authority the CEO will not have is to put a levy on the ballot to support the schools.


    What could happen in Year 2?

    By year two of the new Commission being named, the CEO can close struggling schools, impose a turnaround plan or convert the school to a charter school.


    What could happen in Year 3?

    By year three the CEO can change or suspend any rules in place in union contracts, so long as they do not lower the pay and benefits of employees.


    What could happen next?

    By year five, school members will be appointed by the mayor, not elected. The community will have a vote to return to election its school board once the district is no longer considered as “failing.”


    How will the community have a voice during this process?

    Once appointed, a CEO must create a panel of community advisors to help create a new plan for the district.


    How will this kind of change be funded?

    The state can give the district up to $1.5 million as a one-time payment to enact its plan. 


    Can a district move out from under CEO oversight? 

    Yes. When a district subject to this oversight receives an overall grade of “C” or higher for 2 consecutive years, the district can begin its transition out.

    Our goal now is to learn as much as we can about what lies ahead, and to transition in such a way that our students and staff are supported throughout the process. We will share more on this topic as we are able. Stay tuned.