LORAIN — Lorain Schools isn’t any closer to removing itself from state control after Ohio Department of Education report card scores were released Thursday.
According to the scores, the school district received an F in the value-added component, which measures expected growth, and a D in the performance index component, which measures the achievement of every student in the district.
The district has to receive at least a C grade in both categories for two years in a row to retract itself from the purview of state House Bill 70, which was passed in 2015 and institutes a state takeover of districts that historically struggle with the state scores.
Lorain was taken over last summer, and CEO David Hardy was placed at the helm. The scores released Thursday were for the previous school year and Hardy’s first with the district. Since there were no improvements in the grades, which were the same from the previous year, he only has four more years to get the necessary Cs.
When asked about the scores following a town hall meeting Thursday, Hardy said he hadn’t gotten a chance to really examine them.
“A lot of today was preparing for tonight, so I haven’t spent a ton of time looking at the results and once I will, I’ll have a better comment on exactly what the report card’s telling us. But to be honest, I don’t anticipate, after I look at it, it being much different than what it was,” he said.
Hardy previously said his first year with the district was about laying a good foundation for leadership, which saw some administrators in the central office leaving Lorain Schools in addition to the building leadership structure being changed.
“Last year was a transition year and a rebuilding of leadership and this is the year we’re actually implementing the things you heard and saw and we’re anticipating that will be the impact that we want to see,” he said.
Steve Cawthon, a Lorain High School teacher who serves on the Academic Distress Commission that appointed Hardy last year, said he believes many factors contributed to the low scores.
“I am disappointed, but considering the challenges that the district has faced it is not surprising,” he said.
School board president Tony Dimacchia said he also wasn’t surprised by the lack of a change because Hardy “did nothing for the classroom.”
“If Hardy had worked last year to understand our situation, we could have improved,” he said. “But that’s not what happened. (Former Superintendent) Jeff Graham was let go from the district after two years of bad scores, and if it doesn’t improve next year, I think that’s something we should consider here.”
Graham was the superintendent with the district when the full implementation of House Bill 70 took place. After Hardy came on in August as the CEO, a position that held the powers of both a superintendent and the school board, Graham stayed on through the end of 2017 before departing. He now works in the Cleveland school district.
“At some point this community and the state needs to hold this guy accountable,” Dimacchia said about Hardy. “He has been here almost a year and a half and the report card is not any better.”
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