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Changes coming to Portage Lakes Career Center Board

7/25/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

GREEN — Changes are coming to Ohio joint vocational school district boards of education, including the Portage Lakes Career Center (PLCC), as part of the recent budget signed into effect by Gov. John Kasich last month.

The PLCC serves high school students from Coventry, Green, Manchester and Springfield local school districts, as well as adults, offering various programs.

PLCC Board of Education member Dave Andrews, who is also president of the Coventry Local Schools Board of Education, said among the items added into the budget at the last minute was a line item seeking to change the make-up of these boards.

Currently, the PLCC Board of Education includes the following local school district board of education members: Tina Gable and Andrews, from Coventry; Bob Campbell and Steven Foster, from Green Local Schools; Mark Tallman and Richard Sponseller, from Manchester Local Schools; and Mary Lou Dodson, Neal Hess and Dave Hofer, from Springfield Local Schools.

Andrews said according to the budget item, PLCC Board of Education members now will be required to be selected based on the diversity of the employers from the geographical region. In addition, three of the five members on the board must reside in or be employed within the territory of the PLCC. Also, the new board members cannot be a member of an appointing board unless he or she meets the following criteria: has experience as a chief financial officer, CEO, human resource manager or other business, industry or career counseling professional who is qualified to discuss the labor needs of the region with respect to the regional economy; is an individual who represents employers in the region served by the school and is qualified to consider the state’s workforce needs with an understanding of the skills, training and education needed for current and future employment opportunities in the state; and with preference of these appointments given to individuals who have served on a vocational school business advisory committee, as long as they meet the above requirements.

PLCC Superintendent Ben Moore said his “professional organizations, including 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 opposed this language in the budget and requested a line item veto in the final hours.”

Moore added that “Efforts continue to introduce new legislation that would repeal this change for the following reasons: The current governance structure works and does not need to be changed; the proposed governance structure would replace publicly elected officials with appointed members who would not be accountable to the public (joint vocational school districts are taxing districts with the ability to levy taxes; publicly elected board of education members who, through their home districts, sit on these boards are currently held accountable for the expenditure of public taxpayer dollars); and these districts are currently served by strong business advisory councils that are industry or trade specific.”

Andrews said he believes the proposed changes to the PLCC Board of Education “could have potentially disastrous results.”

Moore said the changes are official as of July 1, with the passage of the budget bill. For PLCC, it will take effect Jan. 1, 2014, but Moore added it is possible that the change could be repealed through separate legislation between now and then.

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