Youngstown City School District sues over state takeover

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Friday, the Youngstown City School District Board of Education sued the state of Ohio, claiming in a news release that the action of appointing a CEO to oversee an academic distress commission that would run the district violates the U.S. and Ohio constitutions.

The Youngstown School Board has asked for an injunction to keep the state from establishing the commission on October 14 as set forth in Ohio House Bill 70 because:

  • They believe their authority would be eliminated if the bill proceeds as planned.
  • According to the board, holding up HB 70 wouldn’t hurt anyone.
  • The public would be protected by legislators waiting to properly enact laws, the board stated.

The board joined together with the Ohio Education Association, the Youngstown Education Association, and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees to file legal action in Franklin County, where Columbus and the state legislature are located, asking the court to declare House Bill 70 unconstitutional.

The Ohio Senate passed the bill into law June 24, which allowed the state to disband the academic distress commission that was overseeing the district. The bill also gave the state the right to appoint a CEO with full control over every decision in the district who could decide what rights, if any, would be assigned to the board of education.

The group that is suing the state believes that the bill would give too much power to the CEO and that the Ohio assembly violated what they call the three-day rule in the Ohio Constitution, which requires every bill passed by the House of Representatives to be considered on three different days.

The group also accuses the house of unfairly taking power away from voters by appointing an un-elected CEO over the district.

The group’s press release closes with this line:

Reasonable minds may disagree on the steps necessary to improve education in Youngstown City Schools and in every district across the state. However, when vitally altered bills are secretly drafted and made law over the course of a single day, the students, parents, employees, and taxpayers of Ohio are not well served.

This is a developing story. Check back here and watch WYTV 33 News for updates on this story.

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