Makes sweeping reforms to improve accountability, reporting, funding

A comprehensive and bipartisan set of reforms for Cleveland’s education system today passed from the Ohio House by a vote of 78-16. Sponsored by Representatives Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) and Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster) in the House and Senators Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) and Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) in the Senate, House Bill 525—and the companion Senate Bill 335—revises Ohio law on how schools will be conducted in Cleveland, such as teacher and principal evaluations, teacher contracts, along with raising the academic bar for differential pay and building assignments.

The legislation was drafted with much collaboration with Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, who brought the legislation creating a framework for implementing the Cleveland plan to the legislature with the hope of improving what has, in recent years, been a system that has failed many families and left students behind.

“The passage of the Cleveland schools plan is a monumental step toward fixing a historically ineffective education system and putting students and families first,” said Representative Amstutz. “The families in Cleveland have long cried out for help and asked for a more student-focused and results-driven solution. This is our answer to them—a proposal crafted with them specifically in mind to help them address their local needs. Obviously, in the larger effort to put Cleveland’s schools back on track and help our young people succeed, implementation of the plan will require additional critical steps.”


In addition to other measures, House Bill 525 specifies that the Cleveland Municipal School District must establish performance measures of student achievement, student progress, and college- and career-readiness no later than December 1, 2012. Beginning in 2013, the district must annually report to the governor, General Assembly and state superintendent of public instruction the district’s progress on adopted performance measures. The state superintendent will also evaluate the progress of the district and issue a report to the governor and General Assembly.

ouse Bill 525 includes several provisions that will help to improve the quality of education that Cleveland’s students receive. According to the legislation, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), in conjunction with the Transformation Alliance and the Ohio Association of Charter School Authorizers, must develop criteria based on the National Association of Charter School Authorizers’ quality principles to be used by community school sponsors to authorize a new community school within the municipal school district, effective with schools opening for the 2013-14 school year. Other criteria must also be developed under this legislation, including criteria related to the school’s mission, model or student population in order to annually assess and report on the efficacy of all district and community schools.

Pertaining to local revenues, House Bill 525 specifies that only those community schools that are sponsored by the municipal school district or with whom the municipal district chooses to enter into a partnership agreement would be eligible to receive proceeds from a local property tax levy. Furthermore, House Bill 525 permits proceeds from the sale of district facilities to be deposited into the municipal district general fund and spent to support district operations if certain conditions are met.

Having passed from the House, House Bill 525 will now be sent to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.


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