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Ohio's state school board votes on resolution opposing bill that would strip many of its powers

Ohio Board of Education Brendan Shea
Karen Kasler
Statehouse News Bureau
Ohio Board of Education Brendan Shea speaks after the board approved his resolution opposing the bill that would move many of the board’s duties to the governor’s office.

Ohio’s state board of education has weighed in on a Republican-backed plan that would dramatically affect its power. A bill moving in the Senate would give much of the state school board’s authority over curriculum and other decisions to an appointee of the governor.

The resolution says since the board includes elected members and has public meetings, it should retain its powers and lawmakers should involve the board in education decisions. It passed 13-6.

Board president Paul Larue was one of the six appointed members who opposed it. He said the board has to be open to change.

"That's what drove my vote. But I said, I'm so proud of this group and so proud of the work that they do," Larue said after the meeting. "So, I mean, if it sounds like I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth, I probably am."

Larue was reappointed by Gov. Mike DeWine in January. DeWine has been supportive of the bill to move many of the board's duties to a cabinet-level director he would appoint.

The resolution was co-written by Republican elected member Brendan Shea, who said he’s not sure whether it will make a difference with lawmakers.

“I have no idea. But we figure it can't hurt to try. We certainly believe in the work of this board and what we do," Shea said.

Shea said people can track the board's decisions by watching its meetings lives on the Ohio Channel or by coming to them in person, which makes board members accountable to the public. And he admitted he hasn't always agreed with decisions on education made by the board, or by elected officials.

"I was one of the people that was concerned about some of how the pandemic was handled. That's only exacerbated challenges that were already there," Shea said. "Changes do need to be made. I'm just not convinced that completely redoing the system at this time is the right way to go about it."

DeWine appointees Walt Davis and Sue Hackett joined all the elected members in voting for the resolution.

The board overhaul was proposed last fall, after Democrats won 7 of 11 elected seats. Senate Bill 1 is a top priority of Republicans in that chamber, and has passed the Senate and is now in a House committee. House Bill 12, a similar version, also considered a priority bill.

Contact Karen at 614-578-6375 or at
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