GREENVILLE — Greenville City School Board members discussed reservations about pending legislation in the Ohio House, and attempted to address student concerns about changing policies, at their monthly meeting late last week.
The board unanimously passed a resolution declaring its opposition to Ohio House Bill 512, which would consolidate the Ohio Department of Education, Ohio Department of Higher Education, and the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation into a new state agency called the Department of Learning and Achievement.
The resolution states that this proposal was drafted without input from parents, students, teachers, or school administrators throughout the state, and further, would strip the State Board of Education of nearly all of its authority and powers, creating “an environment in which the unique needs of students, educators, parents and school districts will be lost within an expanded bureaucracy.” Essentially, while members of the State Board of Education are elected, members of these other agencies are not, meaning that crucial decisions about school funding, graduation requirements, and so on would now be made by political appointees, rather than elected officials.
The board also passed a proclamation designating the week of May 7 to May 11 Staff Member Appreciation Week, stating that the school’s staff members “mold our future citizens through their guidance and education.”
“These are the people that are really on the front lines of providing services to our students,” board president Brad Gettinger said.
The board extended recognitions to Greenville High School students Laura Fields, for winning the Board of Education’s Art Award; Zach Miller, Landon Muhlenkamp, and Ash Williams, for earning the chance to compete at the State Science Day Competition May 12; Landon Brown, for winning the 4-Way Rotary Speech local competition; as well as students in the Greenville High School Theater, Orchestra, FFA, Automotive Technology, and FCCLA programs.
The board accepted donations from the Friends of Harmon Field in the amount of $314,483, for the continuation of their track and field project; Midmark Corporation, in the form of a medical table valued at $7,743; $750 from Ramco Electric Motors and $375 from Scott M&A Corporation, pledged to the athletic department for scoreboard sponsorship; and numerous others.
Finally, GHS Junior Rain Richardson addressed the council about special privileges traditionally reserved for seniors that she fears her own classmates will not get the chance to enjoy, including Senior Sendoff Day, in which students traditionally gathered in order to say goodbye to the graduating class.
“It just seems like we’re getting a lot of things slowly taken away,” Richardson said. “We feel like we’re not being heard, and that no one’s communicating with us.”
In particular, Richardson, and other students present, opposed a policy in which underclassmen will now be allowed to leave school early after completing their exams, meaning that many students will probably not stick around for the traditional send-off ceremony.
GHS principal Stan Hughes stressed that no firm decisions had been made about the new policy.
“We’ll see how that goes this year,” he said. “And then we’ll make decisions that are data-driven.”
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4315. To join the conversation and get updates on Facebook, search Advocate 360. For more features online, go to dailyadvocate.com