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Youngstown Students Head Back to School Just Days After District Sues State

A new school year kicked off in Youngstown today. But just last week, the city’s school board joined a handful of groups in filing a lawsuit against the Ohio Department of Education. They maintain a new law allowing a state takeover of the district is unconstitutional. Despite the recent legal action, local leaders tell StateImpact Ohio’s Amy Hansen, today was business as usual.


It was organized chaos on Monday morning at Taft Elementary School on the city’s east side.

As a sea of students clad in blue-and-white polo shirts and khaki pants shuffled around a gymnamisum trying to locate their new teachers, Principal John McMahan said the kids’ energy was high.

“We don’t feel any of the outside negativity that’s potentially going on,” McMahan said.

And Youngstown School Board President Brenda Kimble said that’s the goal for all of the district’s roughly 5,000 students.

“We promised a smooth opening, and that’s what’s happened. All of our programs are still in place, all of our teachers are ready to teach, and I saw buses all over Youngstown today, and we’re good. We’re good,” Kimble said.

Earlier this summer, the Ohio General Assembly introduced and passed House Bill 70 in less than 24 hours.

The new law allows the state to form a new five-member commission, which would then appoint a CEO to have complete administrative control of the district.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the bill say H.B. 70 didn’t receive the required number of hearings in the state legislature.