Ohio education coalition says local schools need resources, not state takeover

Posted at 4:47 PM, Sep 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-25 18:38:17-04

An Ohio education coalition is speaking out against state school takeovers after seeing News 5's reporting on East Cleveland's school district. 

"These school districts need additional services as opposed to a change in governance," said William Phillis, the executive director of Ohio's Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding.

In a district where challenges outside the classroom play significant roles in it, Phillis said, in his opinion, it's not new state appointed leaders. 

RELATED: Are Ohio school takeovers effective? If we don't know, why are they continuing? 

East Cleveland is the poorest community in the state of Ohio, the fourth poorest in the country.

"Children living in poverty don't need a change in governance. They need services. Health and human services. They need additional education services. Smaller class sizes. Tutors. Food services," he explained. 

RELATED: East Cleveland schools fight state takeover

According to the Ohio Department of Education, 100 percent of East Cleveland's students are considered economically disadvantaged.

Students are served breakfast, lunch and dinner at school and during the summer, according to the district.

The schools in East Cleveland are more than schools; the teachers are more than just teachers, according to parents like Tellawanda Moore. 

"Our district does a lot for our children and I don't think people know that," Moore said. 

"We have a lot of abandoned properties around us and kids have to walk through that, no one really cares. Well, our superintendent does. Our teachers do. I've seen teachers supply kids with a clothing item or carry food to houses," Moore added. 

That's part of the reason Ohio's Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding is coming forward against a state takeover of the district. 

Phillis knows East Cleveland saw improvement in 15 of 21 state performance measures on their last report card — literacy rates and graduation rates are up.

"The average person living in East Cleveland isn't going to be any better off with the power taken away from the local board of Education. In fact, the citizenry will lose its voice in the operation of its school system," Phillis said.