LORAIN — Lorain CEO David Hardy said does not plan to close underperforming buildings.
In January’s “Titan Touchpoints” newsletter, Hardy stated under House Bill 70, “underperforming schools may be closed and reconstituted,” and those in danger of closing due to academic performance would be notified by February. It went on to say buildings would have one year to demonstrate progress before they would be closed.
“This is drastic and scary, but the alternative would be to do nothing and wait for the State of Ohio to dissolve the school entirely and turning it over to a charter school entity,” he says in the newsletter.
On Thursday, Hardy denied any buildings will be closed.
“The keyword there is ‘may be’ and I’m telling you that the answer is no, no buildings (will) close,” he said.
When questioned why he mentioned it in the newsletter if he did not intend to close buildings, he said he wanted to inform parents of what could happen in the district.
“There’s always that possibility and I want to make sure that people know the possibility based upon House Bill 70, but you asked the question, I’m telling you the answer is no (buildings will be closed),” he said.
Under House Bill 70, Hardy has another four years to get Lorain’s value-added and performance index component scores to a “C” or better two years in a row before the district is dissolved and turned over to a charter school entity. Hardy continually has stated during his tenure he has no plans to turn Lorain into a charter school system.
Hardy came under scrutiny at last week’s town hall meeting, with parents, residents and staff questioning public statements he’s made in the district. He eventually was escorted out of the meeting by district security staff, as people continued to question him after he’d ended the session.
One contention residents had was on a statement he made on teacher attendance. While the January “Titan Touchpoints” mentioned building closures, it also stated teachers missed
18.1 days of school last year, “not including FMLA or professional development days.” Pointed out by teachers union president Jay Pickering and verified by information The Chronicle-Telegram received from the district via public records request, Hardy’s statement is incorrect. While teachers did miss an average of 18.1 days last year, that does include all types of leave — such as FLMA, professional development, sick leave and jury duty. Hardy said he had no comment Thursday regarding the difference in information presented.
He did say he thought the town hall meeting went “great,” but would not elaborate further. He had no comments on the questions he received at either the town hall or Saturday’s Speak Up, Speak Out forum.
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