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Manning pressing to avert Lorain Schools takeover by state


State Sen. Gayle Manning isn’t giving up her fight for the Lorain Schools despite a potential state takeover as soon as April.

Manning, R-North Ridgeville, has been working on legislation that would save the district from having a state-appointed CEO take over the district. After a meeting with state Superintendent Paolo DeMaria last week, she said it’s time to kick it in high gear.

“We’ll have to see what happens,” she said. “But I’m going to keep working at it. If we’re going to do something, it’s going to have to be in the lame-duck session between the election and the new General Assembly coming in.”

Manning said her legislation would offer Lorain Schools the same “safe harbor” provisions that other state districts received after annual testing changed three times in as many years.

The safe harbor prevents districts from being placed under academic distress, something Lorain already is in.

After being placed under academic distress several years ago, the district set two benchmarks to lose that status — Cs on state report cards in the performance index and value-added categories.

In 2015, the district saw an A in value-added but a D in the performance index. The A grade was lauded by the district as an indication that progress was being made. However, things worsened with the 2016 report card — an F in the value-added and another D in the performance index.

District leaders, including Superintendent Jeff Graham and school board President Tim Williams, have said since the tests have changed every year, it’s wrong to compare them and to hold the district accountable for these changes.

Both Graham and Williams met with DeMaria on Thursday to discuss how the district got into its position and where they think it is headed. DeMaria has the ability to offer Lorain the safe harbor provisions.

“They did a really great job of portraying what’s been done and how the community is feeling,” Manning said. “Because people really think that progress has taken place in the district and DeMaria didn’t really seem to hold the test scores in high importance, which I really appreciated.”

Contact Katie Nix at 329-7129 or Follow her on Twitter @KatieNix330.

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