Constitutionality of House Bill 70 will be argued before Ohio Supreme Court
On Wednesday, the Ohio Supreme court will begin hearing oral arguments in a legal fight over the infamous House Bill 70, or what has also been referred to as 'The Youngstown Plan.'
It's been active in the Youngstown School District since October of 2015.
At issue is whether HB 70 is constitutional, and if the three readings rule was violated to rush the bill to a vote and pass it.
21 News sets the stage for an issue that's been controversial since it's inception.
An attorney for the Youngstown School Board and an attorney representing the Ohio Attorney General's Office will present their cases to the Supreme Court.
The Ohio Supreme Court appearance is a direct result of the 2015 lawsuit filed, challenging the constitutionality of the law that opponents say bypassed the three readings rule, and was voted on in just a matter of hours in one night.
Youngstown became the first school in the state forced to hire a
chief operating officer, because of poor academic performance, and now several districts are in the same position.
Brenda Kimble, the President of the Youngstown School Board, says, "The Ohio Supreme Court does not have to accept the cases, and so them accepting this case means that they will look at. What I'm hoping to see tomorrow is that the Supreme Court themselves will evaluate what's happened to the Youngstown City Schools."
The initial step in the lawsuit was held in September of 2015 when testimony was heard in a Columbus courtroom, and those testifying included Valley lawmakers like State Representative Michele Lepore-Hagan and State Senator Joe Schiavoni who opposed the measure.
The state court upheld how HB 70 was passed into law. An appeals court later upheld the lower court's decision, and the Ohio Supreme Court then agreed to hear the case.
Some are even willing to fight HB 70 to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary, saying HB 70 has experimented with Youngstown's children long enough.
Pastor Kenneth Simon of New Bethel Baptist Church says, "Before House Bill 70, the district implemented a K through three reading program that took the District from an "F" grade to a "B." A significant improvement. But when House Bill 70 came in and it became law, they dismantled that program."
It's expected that the Ohio Supreme Court will take the case under advisement and issue a ruling in the weeks and months to come.