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PLCC Board of Education set to change

11/28/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

GREEN — The makeup of the Portage Lakes Career Center (PLCC) Board of Education (BOE) is set to change Jan. 1 in order to comply with Gov. John Kasich’s recent budget.

On Nov. 21, the board adopted a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in order to meet those changes, and school districts that are a part of the PLCC are expected to approve it also, according to PLCC Superintendent Ben Moore.

Moore explained the MOU is a nonbinding agreement with its four school districts agreeing to work together to comply with the new law. The PLCC offers a variety of vocational programs for students from Coventry, Green, Manchester and Springfield local school districts, as well as programs for adults.

Currently, the PLCC BOE includes the following local school district BOE members: Tina Gable and Dave Andrews, from Coventry; Bob Campbell and Steven Foster, from Green; Mark Tallman and Richard Sponseller, from Manchester; and Mary Lou Dodson, Neal Hess and Dave Hofer, from Springfield. Currently, the only requirement to be a PLCC BOE member is to be a BOE member for one of the participating school districts.

Moore said all seats on the PLCC BOE expire Jan. 1, and anyone who wants to return would have to be reappointed and meet requirements of the new law. That means the new PLCC BOE could include up to nine new people who have little to no knowledge of the school district they represent, according to Moore. He added he has heard that several board members are considering applying to keep their seats.

“The onus is on the school boards to determine the replacements and to see that they [those replacements] meet the requirements,” said Moore.

Currently, PLCC BOE members are appointed by the PLCC school districts. While the new requirements for PLCC BOE members change, the authority to make those appointments will remain with the PLCC school districts.

The new requirements include:

  • a limitation of two three-year terms for board members;
  • the board must reflect the diversity of the employers from the PLCC’s geographical region;
  • three of the five board members must reside in or be employed within the territory of the PLCC; and
  • board members must have experience as a chief financial officer, CEO, human resource manager or in other business, industry or career counseling and be qualified to discuss the labor needs of the region with respect to the regional economy; represent employers in the region served by the school and be qualified to consider the state’s work-force needs with an understanding of the skills, training and education needed for current and future employment opportunities in the state. Preference will be given to individuals who have served on a vocational school business advisory committee, as long as they meet the above requirements.

Moore said professional organizations such as the Ohio School Boards Association, Buckeye Association of School Administrators, Ohio Association of Career Technical-Superintendents and the Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education are opposed to the new law. He added that while he understands the need for ties to the work force, the PLCC already has these connections.

“There is a lot of outrage about this law, and you would think some common sense would prevail, but there is not a lot of momentum or strategy to try to overturn this,” said Moore. “I think it is ill-guided and potentially illegal and unconstitutional — it is taxation without representation, because this board has the ability to place a levy on the ballot.”

Moore said the PLCC currently has a 2-mill continuing levy, and he does “not see any plan in the near future to place another levy on the ballot.”

All appointments to the board must be made by Jan. 15, and an attorney has been engaged to make sure the overall appointments meet the requirement that three-fifths work or live in the PLCC geographic area and that the board reflects the PLCC region’s diversity of employers, according to Moore.

“We have an orientation process that includes a handbook of the PLCC ready for all the new board members,” said Moore. “Business will continue. Enrollment is up, the facility is beautiful and the hope is the new representatives will be here for the students, as well as the adult programs.”

School districts are working to make appointments to the PLCC BOE.

Springfield Local Schools officials have put out a call seeking qualified individuals to represent the district on the board, with résumés due to Superintendent Bill Stauffer at 2410 Massillon Road, Akron, OH 44312, or via email to sp_ stauffer@springfieldspartans.org.

Details are available online under “PLCC Board of Education” at www.springfieldspa rtans.org.

“The PLCC provides a great learning environment for vocational students,” said Hess, who is president of the Springfield BOE. “It is critical that we have qualified representatives from Springfield.”

Green Local Schools Superintendent Jeffrey Miller said district officials will ensure their appointments to the PLCC BOE “maintain its strong partnership and collaboration [with the vocational school] for the betterments of our students.”

The Green Board of Education entered into executive session after its Nov. 25 meeting to discuss these appointments and other personnel matters.

Officials from Coventry and Manchester school districts did not respond by presstime to comment on the PLCC BOE issue.

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