Bipartisan bill looks to make state Board of Ed entirely elected

By: - May 18, 2021 12:40 am

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Two Ohio state representatives want to reduce the size of the state Board of Education, and eliminate governor-appointed spots.

The Board of Education currently has 19 members, 11 of which are elected. In a bill introduced Friday by state Reps. Adam Bird, R-New Richmond and Joe Miller, D-Amherst, all would be elected.

The board, which oversees statewide educational issues, including budgets and curriculums, and the bill sponsors say more transparency and accountability is needed for the group.

“Right now, 42% of the members of the State Board of Education are not elected and therefore are not accountable to anyone,” Bird said in a statement.

Miller said changing the make-up of the body “will return the original intent and give taxpayers a voice on issues and policies that will affect their children’s education.”

“This places the responsibility on the electorate to be more intentional in who we elect to the State Board of Education members,” Miller continued in his statement on the bill.

The Ohio Education Association said they are still studying the bill, but said the governor-appointed positions on the board were created in the 1990s “to thwart an attempt to fix the state’s broken school funding system.”

“OEA has long supported giving Ohio voters their due voice in the future of our public schools by electing State Board of Education members,” the association said in a statement.

That funding system may be on its way to overhaul if budget talks to include funding formula changes continue.

A spokesperson for the Board of Education did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.

The state board bill was referred to the House Government Oversight Committee for future hearings.

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Susan Tebben
Susan Tebben

Susan Tebben is an award-winning journalist with a decade of experience covering Ohio news, including courts and crime, Appalachian social issues, government, education, diversity and culture. She has worked for The Newark Advocate, The Glasgow Daily Times, The Athens Messenger, and WOUB Public Media. She has also had work featured on National Public Radio.

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