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All boards must remain accountable

Gov. John Kasich has shown a fondness for privatizing many components of Ohio’s government — for better and worse — but this latest push to take public accountability out of vocational school operations that is being led by lawmakers is a mistake.

As the state legislature makes the final push to have a budget in place by June 30, politicians continue to try to slip bad policy into the wide-sweeping proposal. The latest is a push by Sen. Chris Widener to require that vocational school board positions are appointed positions rather than elected ones as is currently the case.

Right now, the Collins Career Center board has five members who are also elected members of local school boards of education.

Collins officials are opposing this change, as is the Ohio School Boards Association, as they are absolutely correct to do so.

It makes no sense to put appointed individuals in charge of tax dollars and entities that have the ability to institute tax levies. Keeping elected officials on these boards helps ensure accountability and minimize cronyism, both concepts that are important for citizens.

Widener’s goal is to ensure that individuals with business and workforce backgrounds serve on these boards, which is a good idea in theory but not at the expense of answering to the taxpayers.

Why not create advisory panels or task forces where individuals with these types of backgrounds can offer input so that the same goals are accomplished?

Looking at ways to improve all of Ohio’s educational opportunities should be handled deliberately and cautiously, not snuck into a budget bill at the 11th hour.