Collins leaders against idea to privatize JVS boards
As the Ohio General Assembly races the clock to pass its biennial budget by July 1, locally, members of Lawrence County’s vocational school board are worried what recently added provisions would mean to them if passed.
At a meeting Monday, Steve Dodgion, Collins Career Center superintendent, encouraged board members to call their legislative leaders and oppose the last minute add-ons by the Senate to the budget that would essentially privatize joint vocational school boards across the state.
The Ohio Senate signed off on its version of Gov. John Kasich’s $61 billion budget earlier this month, adding a proposal by Sen. Chris Widener that would replace elected JVS board members with appointed, private members.
“The problem is it destroys the relationship and close ties we have with the home schools,” Dodgion said.
Right now, the Collins board has five members who are also elected members of local school boards of education.
Dodgion said if the budget passes with Widener’s proposal, the Ironton, Chesapeake and county boards of education would have to appoint people from the business community.
“We are a taxing entity because we can levy taxes,” Dodgion said. “I don’t think appointed people should have the power to tax. They wouldn’t have to answer to the public at all.”
Specifically, the bill would require the appointing board to select JVS board members who represent regional employers and who are qualified to consider a region’s workforce needs. The bill requires that two members of the board to be selected based on their experience in career development and career counseling for grades K-12 and career counseling for adult education.
The Ohio School Boards Association is opposed to the plan and sent out a letter to JVSD board members saying the “governance structure works and does not need to be changed. This is a solution looking for a problem.”
Ray Malone, CCC board member, agreed the existing governance structure should remain in place.
“We should keep it exactly like it is,” Malone said. “I think our boards have been doing a good job.”
Malone also noted voters should decide who the members of the board should be.
The letter also encouraged those board members to contact their senators to ask them to remove the provision from the budget.
The Ohio House unanimously voted down the Senate’s amendments to the budget on June 12, sending the legislation to a conference committee for final negotiations.