GREENVILLE — Greenville City Schools District Board of Education President James Sommer represented Darke County at the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA) Ohio Association of School Business Officials (OASBO) and the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) State Legislative Conference, March 15, at the Statehouse Atrium, in Columbus, Ohio.
The State Legislative Conference provides school board members, administrators and treasurers an opportunity to get the message out on the importance of investing in a strong public school system and putting a local face on these issues. During the morning session, school district leaders heard briefings on proposed legislation that was used in discussions with their legislators, during lunch and in office visits later that day. Attendees also heard from legislative leaders about their views on public education and other priorities.
While various bills were discussed, such as House Bill (HB) 49, Operating Budget Senate; Bill (SB) 3, Workforce Development; SB 36, Proposed Current Agricultural USe Values, HB 58, Handwriting Instruction, HB 21, Community School Enrollment Verification and SB 8 Funding for School Safety and Technology Infrastructure, Sommer shared some issues he was most emphatic about. He was able to express his ideas at lunch, with three state senators and two state representatives, such as: Senator Bill Beagle (District 5), state Representative Keith Faber (District 84) and state Representative Stephen Huffman (District 80).
Sommer said he is very emphatic about a few issues, such as school districts having local control, putting transportation back into the budget and the cuts to the Educational Service Center (ESC) funding. As school bus fleets age, they become less safe and students still need transported, Sommer said.
“They have not had any transportation for I don’t know how many years – they cut it out of the budget. How are we supposed to transport our kids if we can’t ride buses. Recently, the district had to purchase three new buses. That came out of our General Fund. It is rough because you only have a certain amount in that fund for other expenses,” he said.
In addition, the governor is cutting ESC funding in the county offices by 25 percent, Sommer said.
“That is going to kill the ESCs because districts buy services from them. How will the county office employ people to take care of those needs, such as speech therapists and physical therapists for the schools without those funds. There are a lot of schools in the county purchasing some of these services through the ESC. It would negatively impact everyone in the county if that succeeds.”
To read the text of testimony given before the Joint Education Oversight Committee, March 9, visit https://edexcellence.net/articles/text-of-testimony-given-before-the-joint-education-oversight-committee-3917
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