YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – After weeks of uncertainty, the man seen as one of the biggest proponents locally of House Bill 70, ironically, was not even in town when the ruling was announced that an injunction motion to stop the bill had been denied.
“Obviously, I’m pleased with it,” said Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber President and CEO Tom Humphries.
On Tuesday, a Columbus judge threw out efforts to keep the law from going into effect. This means that an academic distress commission overseeing Youngstown City Schools will be reconstituted, and a CEO will be appointed to oversee the district.
The local Board of Education and others challenged the measure as unconstitutional, but Humphries said it is time to move forward with the plan.
“They have been sitting in limbo. Lets get everybody back in the room and lets start driving in that direction to fix the school district,” he said.
Youngstown Mayor John McNally said he was not surprised by yesterday’s ruling, saying that allowing the law to be enacted provides stability.
“I think it does provide some, basically the ground work to move forward now,” he said.
McNally said he would like to see people stop referring to the law as the “Youngstown Plan.”
“There are other districts in the state that are facing the same issues, very soon, if they don’t get their act together as well,” he said.
While school board members are threatening an appeal, State Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman, is working on his own plan.
“I have a bill prepared in Columbus that puts some safe guards on what this CEO can and cannot do,” he said.
Humphries said, however, that that has already been done.
“Do we want to keep tweaking it, or do we want to implement it?” he asked.
The first step in the implementation process is naming the new members of the distress commission, who should all be in place in about a month.