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Ohio Supreme Court Upholds State School Takeover Law

The Ohio Supreme Court has let stand the law that allows the state to take over failing school districts, starting with the Youngstown City Schools in 2015.

By a 5-2 vote, the court disagreed with the Youngstown City Schools, which said the addition of a 67-page amendment on the day of the vote on the 10-page takeover bill was unconstitutional.

State solicitor Ben Flowers argued for the law before the court in October, conceding lawmakers could have required the usual three readings on the bill before a vote.

"But there’s nothing in the constitution that’s judicially enforceable that required them to go about doing things in that manner," Flowers said.

In the lead opinion, Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor wrote that it’s not the court’s role “to police how the amended language came into existence”.

Michael Donnelly, one of the two justices who dissented, called it “a travesty of justice.”

The law has since been used to take two other districts, and ten others are at risk of state takeover.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

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Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.
Karen Kasler
Contact Karen at 614/578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.