Article: Time to Celebrate! Budget Bill Passes Providing Pathway Beyond ADC

Time to Celebrate! Budget Bill Passes Providing Pathway Beyond ADC

 Last night Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed the two-year state operating budget for the 2022 and 2023 Fiscal Years. Included in the bill was a pathway for the Lorain City School District to dissolve its Academic Distress Commission (ADC), provided we are able to meet benchmarks outlined in our improvement plan.

Lorain City Schools Board President Mark Ballard expressed relief and hope for the future. "This was a hard-fought battle over the last six years, to right what we believe was a flawed approach to trying to improve schools," he shared. "Our community wants local control and local oversight of our schools and today, we now have a path to make that a reality."

In essence, the budget bill gives Ohio school districts with ADCs three years to meet goals approved by the state to see its ADC dissolved, with the option for two one-year extensions if needed. During that time, the law also reduces the powers of the CEO to those of a regular superintendent and puts the locally elected school board back in control of much of the district's decisions, including acting as a checks and balances for spending within the district.

"Lorain is truly blessed to have an incredibly competent board leading the district," shared CEO Jeff Graham. "They are true leaders in our community, and I can say without hesitation that they represent this community with as much passion and grace behind the scenes as they do on center stage. They have been part of every decision every step of the way, and their persistence, resolve, and quite frankly, their level of energy is proof they aren't in their positions for the glory, but for the greater good. They fought for their Lorain City Schools because they believe in us and they believe in the children in our care.

"I also want to give a special thanks to Senator Nathan Manning for being out in front of this issue from day one. He introduced this bill, and he worked with his Republican constituents to not just support, but to truly understand what was behind the fight for our schools. Senator Manning consistently demonstrates the leadership and heart that put him in the Senate in the first place, and we couldn't have asked for a better ally throughout."

The district shared additional recognition for the following:
  • Chair Gayle Manning, Senator Nathan Manning, and Representative Joe Miller for their continued fight for the community of Lorain, quality public schools, and the policies and funding needed to support the children of Ohio;
  • Chair Andrew Brenner for taking the time to understand our district's journey, and to learn about our strategic plan for improvement moving forward;
  • The Lorain Academic Distress Commission for their leadership, guidance and cooperation, working hand in hand with our board throughout;
  • Grassroots community organization It Takes a Village for keeping the Lorain City Schools front and center down in Columbus, not only through dozens of trips to our Capitol, but by connecting with individuals across the state through their social media campaigns;
  • Most of all, we want to thank our community, which includes our Board, staff, students, families and residents for your endurance, and for your sustained belief in the Lorain City Schools. We are humbled by your overwhelming positivity and support.
The CEO and Board of Education have been working on a three-year improvement plan in anticipation of this day, and will submit the plan as soon as is practical.
In the meantime, the District is planning a Community Appreciation Event to celebrate this victory with the people of Lorain.

"Lorain's children are our most important stakeholders," shared Ballard. "And their advocates -- the parents and guardians of our students, our residents and staff -- all play a critical role in their growth and development. It's time to take a breath and honor where we've been, where we're going and the people responsible."

Attached is a step-by-step explanation of the Academic Distress Commission policy and subsequent requirements which will be enacted. Updates will be shared on the district website at lorainschools.org.

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