I’ve been working with a group of reform minded people all over Ohio. In fact there are a number of these types of movements going on, while sadly, the school systems are playing the same old game. Here is an article from Larry Budd, writer for the Dayton Daily News.
To give a bit of background, Kelly is a board member for Springboro whom I’ve had some great discussions with, and Paul Lambert has been instrumental at getting things started with some fantastic facts and figures. He resides and does most of his business in Columbus and is a great resource. You can see some of Paul’s work here:
Paul and Kelly are a lot more patient than I am regarding politics, and are great people to be at the front of this effort.
School-levy foes back to work on new state group
Educate Ohio would be an alternative to the Ohio School Boards Association.
By Lawrence Budd, Staff Writer Updated 2:04 AM Friday, January 14, 2011
CLEARCREEK TWP., Warren County — Selected board members from school districts in six Ohio counties will huddle Saturday in Warren County to continue the creation of Educate Ohio, a new organization designed in part to make up for perceived shortcomings of the Ohio School Boards Association.
“There are board members that aren’t necessarily following the teachings of OSBA,” said Springboro board member Kelly Kohls. “It’s probably a presentation of the other side of issues. We need someone presenting the taxpayer points of view.”
OSBA executive director Rick Lewis said his group — governed by board members supported by all but three of Ohio’s 719 school districts, including Springboro — communicates information and curriculum used to educate school board members across the country.
“We’re very responsive to changing our priorities,” he said. “Sometimes there’s just different perspectives on how to get there.”
Kohls said her group would provide the public different perspectives on budgeting, tax levies and negotiating contracts with teachers’ unions.
The state teachers’ union, the Ohio Education Association, questioned whether the public would turn to Educate Ohio for information.
“The media and the public tend to turn to state educational organizations that represent hundreds of thousands of education personnel. They have a proven track record of working with education policy,” said spokeswoman Michele Prater.
Educate Ohio also would help other grass-roots statewide organizations, such as Educate Springboro, Educate Hilliard and Educate Worthington, which opposed recent levies in those districts.
The group was conceived in Hilliard by school board member and blogger Paul Lambert.
“We’re not trying to build some statewide political force. We really want to help the folks in the local communities,” he said.
Lambert purchased the educateohio.com web address, as well as web addresses for community-based offshoots in Hilliard and Worthington, two Columbus suburbs. He provided the address used by Educate Springboro, a community group that formed a political action committee to oppose a November property tax levy that would have generated new operating money for the district.
While a founder of Educate Ohio, Kohls has emphasized she is not a member of Educate Springboro.
“You have to kind of remove yourself from any political-action group,” said Don Miller, incoming president of the Springboro board. “It’s kind of our job to look at it from a big-picture perspective.”
Current, former or aspiring board members from Marysville to Versailles and Kettering to Springboro are planning to attend the 2 p.m. meeting at the Clearcreek Twp. Government Center. Yet Miller said, “I had no idea” about the meeting in his district.
It is the group’s second meeting following one in December at the Golden Lamb Inn in Lebanon. In addition to current, former or aspiring board members from Springboro, Hilliard, Marysville and Grove City districts, the meeting is expected to attract people such as Rich Hoffman of nolakota.com, which opposed a recent levy for Lakota Local Schools in Butler County.
Hoffman suggested public education reform hinges on decisions by Gov. John Kasich and progress in settling debates over equity in school funding that go back decades.
Herb Ernst, a former Oakwood board member affiliated with Citizens Advocating Responsible Government, a PAC that questioned school spending in Kettering, said his local group is considering adopting the name, Educate Kettering.
While hesitating to yet call himself an Educate Ohio member, Ernst said he planned to attend Saturday’s meeting.
“I think there’s going to be growing interest,” Ernst said.