Local schools react to governor’s idea of business leaders on boards

  • Michael Clark
  • Staff Writer
Jan 30, 2017
Todd Parnell, a member of the Lakota school board, says it’s a good idea to have business people serve on boards of education, but believes they need to be elected. Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s budget calls for schools to appoint three, non-voting business people to each local school board. STAFF FILE/2015

An unusual part of the proposed state budget released Monday brought mixed reactions from some Butler and Warren county school officials.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s budget calls for schools to appoint three, non-voting business people to each local school board.

The goal, according to the budget document, is to “ensure that businesses and educators have a better understanding of the skills needed for local in-demand jobs.”

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Lakota Local Schools’ governing board already includes members who also work in the private sector.

Todd Parnell, a corporate vice president, said Kasich’s proposal should be changed.

“I do think we need business people, like myself, on local school boards but they should be elected. Superintendents should not appoint anyone to the board. Superintendents report to the board. I am not sure non-voting members would have much influence anyway,” Parnell said.

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Tracey Carson, spokeswoman for Warren County’s Mason City Schools, said the idea of the state forcing another mandate on the traditional way school boards have operated for decades is indicative of micro-managing in local schools.

“It is disheartening to see that after seven years in office, Gov. Kasich still isn’t listening to what Ohio’s children, families, and professional educators are saying. The state needs to stop mandating solutions to problems that do not exist,” said Carson, whose district is the largest in Warren County.

“On nearly every school board throughout Ohio you will find dedicated public servants who are also business professionals. Those locally elected members are responsive to their local communities. We need more local control of public education in Ohio, not less,” said Carson.

RELATED: Local control, not state, needed for schools

The sweeping biennium budget will soon begin months of negotiations and revisions by the Ohio Legislature prior to its June 30 deadline for approval.

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