Ohio Supreme Court Upholds State School Takeover Law

May 13, 2020

The Ohio Supreme Court has let stand the law that allows the state to take over failing school districts, starting with the Youngstown City Schools in 2015.

By a 5-2 vote, the court disagreed with the Youngstown City Schools, which said the addition of a 67-page amendment on the day of the vote on the 10-page takeover bill was unconstitutional.

State solicitor Ben Flowers argued for the law before the court in October, conceding lawmakers could have required the usual three readings on the bill before a vote.

"But there’s nothing in the constitution that’s judicially enforceable that required them to go about doing things in that manner," Flowers said.

In the lead opinion, Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor wrote that it’s not the court’s role “to police how the amended language came into existence”.

Michael Donnelly, one of the two justices who dissented, called it “a travesty of justice.”

The law has since been used to take two other districts, and ten others are at risk of state takeover.