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Manning seeking public input on legislation on Lorain schools

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LORAIN – Sen. Gayle Manning, a former public school teacher, is ready to pull the public into a fight to keep Lorain Schools under local control.

Faced with more state oversight if the troubled district is unable recover academically, Manning, R-North Ridgeville, is set to propose new legislation in March that would be tailored-made for Lorain’s success and steer the district away from a new law known as the Youngstown Plan for the way it is reshaping the Mahoning Valley district.

But first Manning said she needs to hear from Lorain stakeholders and how they want to see their district rebound.

“Our goal is to develop a community-centered plan that allows the school district to continue its progress toward improving student achievement,” Manning said. “A change in direction at this point would only disrupt the progress that is already being made locally. Involvement from this diverse group of stakeholders demonstrates that the Lorain community supports their schools and is committed to being part of a solution that ensures students are provided the best opportunities for their futures.”

Lorain Superintendent Jeff Graham said with changes in state assessments, Lorain is unlikely to meet statutory requirements that would prevent a state intervention in the school district, under Ohio law.

“Research shows that whenever you alter an assessment, there is a dip in performance,” said Graham. “We’re in a special situation, in which all other school districts are held harmless for their scores on the new tests – all districts except those in academic distress, like Lorain. We have the most on the line right now.”

But before the bill can head to the legislature, public stakeholders need to provide input.

Manning welcomes members of the public to submit comments and suggestions to her office.

Suggestions may be submitted to Senator Manning’s office electronically at Manning@OhioSenate.gov or by mail to Senator Gayle Manning, Senate Building, 1 Capitol Square, 1st Floor, Columbus, OH 43215.

Graham said a series of focus groups will be held in the coming weeks.

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