Coalition on Ohio Board of Education Want Changes

Democrats on the Ohio Board of Education are in the minority but they they want to shake things up at the board’s first meeting of the year today (Monday). A half dozen Democrats told reporters they are supporting one of their own – Pat Bruns of Cincinnati – for the new president of the board president and Michael Collins for vice president. The group says they want more support for public schools.

A coalition of school board members made up of a half dozen Democrats told reporters late last week. Michael Collins says the group wants more funding for public schools and more accountability for charter schools.

“To redo legislation related to charter schools so there is definitely adequate achievement accountability and financial transparency and a complete balance and a complete same set of rules and guidelines that govern and also finance those charter schools and public schools.”

New board member Bob Hagan of Youngstown says the coalition may be in a minority in their concerns about school funds going to charter schools but they will be vocal.

“I don’t think you’ve seen nor heard of a coalition like this at the state school board in the past. We care deeply about the 1.6 million children. We care about the financing. We know it’s not fair. And you’ll hear lots from us.”

The Democrats are also critical of state school superintendent Dick Ross, a former member of the Kasich administration. Board member Stephanie Dodd says the Department of Education is understaffed and under-performing.

“I do honestly feel that in many cases he seems to look to the governor’s office for guidance instead of looking toward 19 board members he reports to.”

Democrats picked up three seats in the November election and now make up 7 of the 19 members. Democrat A-J Wagner did not join the group but Dodd says Republican Anne Jacobs is a supporter.

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