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East Cleveland schools sue to block state takeover

September 22, 2018

East Cleveland schools sue to block state takeover

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The East Cleveland City School District filed suit against the State Department of Education late Friday, seeking to block a takeover of the schools by an state-appointed “academic distress commission.”

The suit filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court asks for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against imposition of the commission, which the complaint says “would strip all local control from the district and hand it over to persons who answer only to the state superintendent, and not the citizens of the district.”

The state’s intervention was the result of East Cleveland’s overall F on new state report cards, under House Bill 70, a state law signed in 2015 that drastically changed how the state can step in to run “failing” school districts. Under the takeover, State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria would appoint the academic distress commission, which would name a new schools CEO charged with creating and carrying out a new school improvement plan.

East Cleveland Superintendent Myrna Loy Corley, who was notified of the takeover Sept. 13, argues in the lawsuit that it comes as the district is making improvements, that the district has been hurt by changes to state tests and that the district does not meet requirements for a takeover because it has not received an overall F grade for three consecutive years.

East Cleveland is the third district in Ohio to face such a takeover, following Youngstown and Lorain.

The district’s suit was assigned to Common Pleas Judge Steven Gall, and a hearing was set for Nov. 26.

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