You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

School pick pace may violate law

Kasich months behind in picking Mims replacement on state school board.


A state school board seat that represents more than 1 million Miami Valley residents has been vacant for more than five months, despite Ohio law requiring the governor’s office to appoint someone to fill the spot within 30 days.

That vacancy comes as the state board prepares for an unusually busy summer, according to board Vice President Tom Gunlock of Centerville, with key votes upcoming on new graduation requirements and rules for dropout recovery schools.

On Dec. 31, Jeff Mims resigned from the District 3 state school board seat — representing Montgomery, Miami, Butler, Preble and part of Darke County — because he had been elected to Dayton City Commission.

At the time of his resignation, Mims was the only black member of the 19-seat state board, which creates K-12 education policy for Ohio schools. One in every six Ohio students is black, but none of the current 18 board members are black.

“As soon as we have a qualified candidate, we’ll appoint him or her,” said Rob Nichols, spokesman for Ohio Governor John Kasich. “We’re processing it as quickly as we can, but we won’t shoehorn somebody into a seat just to check a box or meet some arbitrary deadline.”

Nichols pointed out that Kasich has appointed two black members to the board — Angela Thi Bennett and Stanley Jackson — but neither is there today.

“We are constantly looking for African-Americans willing to serve on that board, and we would encourage any African-American who is interested to submit their information to us,” Nichols said.

A heavy majority of the members on the current board do not have a background in education.

Mims said he left the board in part because he thought he was having little influence on the majority and could make more impact on Dayton’s city commission. But he said the lack of diversity on the state school board “bothers me tremendously.”

Recent history shows several board vacancies have taken months to fill, while a few have been handled quickly.

Darryl Mehaffie of Greenville, a member of the Republican state central committee, was appointed to the state school board on Jan. 4, 2013, filling an appointed position that had been open for more than three months. But when Mehaffie resigned last week, saying he could not devote enough time to the job, Kasich took just two days to name Cathye Flory of Logan to replace him.

Nichols said that replacement, which by law had to come from a rural area, happened quickly because Flory had recently applied for another board seat. “So we kind of had that person in our pocket for when a seat would open up,” he said.

“The state school board is one of 300 boards and commissions we’re responsible for finding qualified people for,” Nichols said. “It’s a big job, but we’ll continue to do it, and we’ll put the best and brightest we can possibly find in every one of these seats.”

‘We’re going to be swamped’

The legislature passed major K-12 education bills in recent weeks, including one that changes the pathway to high school graduation.

Ohio Department of Education spokesman John Charlton said ODE is still analyzing the bills line-by-line to determine which changes are ODE’s responsibility and which ones belong to the state board.

Charlton said it’s already clear that the board will decide the cumulative score needed on seven end-of-course exams in order to graduate.

State board member Ron Rudduck of Wilmington said the board developed a point system for that score last year, but it was based on 10 end-of-course exams, rather than the seven that ended up in the law.

State officials will also decide the “cut scores” needed to pass each individual end-of-course exam, create a system to translate Advanced Placement test scores into state scores, and decide the score needed on the third-grade reading test to advance to fourth grade.

“We’re going to be swamped,” Gunlock said of the board. “ We’ve got a very busy schedule ahead of us.”

Gunlock, an appointed, at-large board member, said another major effort will be establishing rules for dropout recovery schools based on new legislation. A variety of schools and colleges will be eligible for funding to help dropouts 22 and older earn high school diplomas.

“That money is available July 1, but we haven’t written the rules yet obviously, because it just passed,” Gunlock said. “That’s going to have to hit pretty quick if we’re going to get this program up and running. … It takes a long time to write rules. It’s not one month and you’re done.”

Diversity lacking

Ohio law calls for 11 elected members plus eight appointed by the governor’s office on the 19-member school board. But because of resignations and replacements, Kasich’s appointees now make up a 10-8 majority on board votes. Those numbers will reset after the November election.

Mims said he thought some appointed board members’ votes were guided too much by Kasich’s agenda, rather than by research presented by trained education professionals.

Rudduck admitted that only four or five of the current 18 members have a background in education, but he argued that the attorneys and business people on the board “really seek out advice and input from the professionals and experts. And that’s how it ought to be.”

Mims said he misses serving on the state board and hopes the board gets more diversity.

“There are certain issues that specifically affect children of color,” Mims said. “People who have not experienced the challenges that these students come to school with every day (may) have a desire to address those issues, and there’s not meanness, but there are lot of preconceived notions about why those kids are in the circumstances they’re in.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton reveals prostate cancer: What is it, can it be cured?
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton reveals prostate cancer: What is it, can it be cured?

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton told a group of reporters Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with  prostate cancer, a day after he fainted while delivering his State of the State address in front of the Minnesota Legislature. Dayton said he was diagnosed with the disease last week, but doctors told him it did not appear that the cancer had spread past...
Charlotte attorney disbarred after being accused of having sex with clients
Charlotte attorney disbarred after being accused of having sex with clients

A Charlotte, North Carolina, attorney accused of having sex with several of his immigration clients has been disbarred, officials said. Court documents show the clients he targeted were "especially vulnerable." According to the court filing, attorney Chris Greene voluntarily surrendered his license after he agreed that he could not defend...
Does White House press secretary Sean Spicer have a vendetta against Dippin' Dots?
Does White House press secretary Sean Spicer have a vendetta against Dippin' Dots?

Former chief strategist and communications director of the Republican National Committee Sean Spicer doesn't seem to have an affinity for Dippin' Dots ice cream. >> Read more trending stories   The current White House press secretary has taken to Twitter on numerous occasions to express his distaste for the self-proclaimed...
Sales of George Orwell's '1984' surge after Kellyanne Conway's 'alternative facts' comments
Sales of George Orwell's '1984' surge after Kellyanne Conway's 'alternative facts' comments

Brianna Chambers contributed to this report. During an interview with Chuck Todd of NBC's "Meet the Press," counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway said White House press secretary Sean Spicer's comments about the size of the crowd that attended the inauguration of Donald Trump were "alternative facts."  People quickly...
Technology, history and our future

Reader Bill Brown wrote in about our discussion a while back about history, English majors and the modern day. “Technology allows us to accomplish tasks faster, cheaper and more efficiently. Great … except when it’s not. Humans are flawed creatures. We have many wonderful traits, and we also have some really nasty ones. Students...
More Stories