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Lorain Schools CEO discusses his plan

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    David Hardy, CEO of Lorain City Schools, answers questions regarding his strategic plan on Wednesday evening at Lorain High School's auditorium.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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LORAIN — The school district’s CEO gave one last presentation to the community Wednesday night to get more input on his strategic plan to improve the district before it is submitted to the Academic Distress Commission.

David Hardy spoke to school leaders, students, faculty and parents in the high school auditorium to explain the Lorain Promise, his vision for boosting students’ performance.

The strategic plan, which must be submitted to the commission by Monday, is mandated in state House Bill 70, the piece of legislation that stipulates the state takeover that put Hardy in place.

The district has a CEO because failing test scores and poor state report card grades caused it to be classified by the state as under academic distress in 2013.

House Bill 70, passed in 2015, says that if a district is in academic distress and under the supervision of an academic distress commission for four years, the old commission will be disbanded and a new one will be appointed to hire a CEO.

The CEO is expected to have all of the power of a superintendent as well as most of the power given to a school board, with the exception of the right to put levies or bond issues on the ballot, and after two years in power, the CEO also can take “failing” buildings and turn them into charter schools.

Hardy said the draft version of the strategic plan had been discussed by at least 2,000 voices recorded through surveys and 90 to 100 meetings held with the community. Hardy said he believes there’s been enough opportunity to engage with the community ahead of the deadline.

After a detailed presentation outlining the different goals for the district and how to reach them, Hardy opened the rest of the meeting to hear the community’s questions, comments and concerns.

“I think the number of questions were positive and ultimately helps us further understand the vision and it helps us rally around the direction,” he said.

Local resident Nali Ivey, 46, attended the event hoping to get more involved as her 4-year-old granddaughter, Alaya Thompson, will start preschool soon.

“I don’t want her in a charter school, I want her in Lorain City Schools,” she said.

After the meeting, Ivey said she thinks the plan is well-thought-out but won’t be fully realized until it’s put into action.

“As long as he’s working at it, that’s the first step,” she said. “And that’s all that we can hope for — that you’re trying.”

One of the most memorable inputs, Hardy said, was from the students about how the district will provide them opportunities to learn in different ways.

Now that the strategic plan is finalized, Hardy said he’s ready to move forward.

“It’s great to have a plan, but if you don’t put that plan into action, it’s just a plan,” Hardy said.

Contact Bruce Walton at 329-7123 or bwalton@chroniclet.com.



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