Local school district fights back against state takeover

Canton is among 10 school districts in the state of Ohio that could be affected by the state takeover of public-school districts in 2020.

The proposed House Bill 70 has pushed Canton City School officials to take their fight to Columbus.  Recently appointed Superintendent, Jeff Graham; Vice President of the Canton City Board of Education, Eric Resnick; President of the Canton Professional Educators’ Association, Paul Palomba; and Spencer Geraghty, a Canton City teacher have joined other school district leaders across the state in urging lawmakers to support House Bill 154 as part of the state’s two-year budget.

House Bill 154 would dismantle House Bill 70, which uses academic distress commissions to appoint a CEO to take over of failing district operations without any local input. House Bill 154 instead requires local districts to create improvement plans for each school building that receives an ‘F’ on its state report card.

School districts in Youngstown, East Cleveland and Lorain are already under the state control. It is expected that Dayton will fall under that control as well this fall. Opponents to House Bill 154 argue the plan does not adequately hold academically failing schools accountable.

Canton City representatives testified before lawmakers recently, made phone calls and office visits in addition to Palomba and Geraghty giving each of the state’s 33 senators a letter that included signatures of 25 leaders from Canton City government, business, media, higher education and other groups. Palomba, Geraghty and Resnick also spoke during a televised statehouse news conference late last month. They called on Governor Mike DeWine to put a stop to the academic distress commissions.

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