LORAIN — The Lorain Academic Distress Commission unanimously approved the strategic plan for the school district Wednesday.
“I’m humbled by that vote of confidence they provided, and are giving me the space, the time the support necessary to make great things happen,” Lorain School CEO David Hardy said.
The strategic plan, which was to have been submitted to the district’s Academic Distress Commission by Nov. 6, 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.
The distress commission decided to approve the plan at Wednesday’s meeting instead of when it was submitted at its previous meeting Nov. 6 because members were absent at that meeting.
Hardy appreciated the board’s action and said it was important to have all members there so they all had time to speak and ask questions about the plan.
Hardy has said the plan had been addressed by at least 2,000 voices recorded through surveys and 90 to 100 meetings held with the community over this academic year.
Now that the plan has been approved, the distress commission will submit the plan to the Ohio Department of Education, which will provide some oversight for the plan. Hardy said the first goal he hopes to accomplish is filling vacant school board positions.
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