As Ohio moves into a new year, the school policy arena will see plenty of new faces. Beginning with the State Board of Education, the 19-member board will have seven new members, including four new appointments made by out-going Governor Kasich. These members replace Tess Elshoff and Joe Farmer (both term-limited) along with Kara Morgan and Cathye Flory (both of whom could have served four more years). The new members include David Brinegar of Fayette, Cindy Collins of Amanda, Mark Lamoncha of Leetonia and Michael Toal of Sidney.Brinegar is CEO of manufacturer Fulton Industries, and a former member of the Fayette Local School District Board of Education. Collins is an agent with Gorsuch Realty and president-elect for the Lancaster Board of Realtors. Lamoncha is CEO of manufacturer Humtown Products. Toal is CEO of Rotary Compression Technologies and president of Everyday Technologies. In addition to the board members, three newly elected members will be seated including Jenny Kilgore, who defeated 4th District incumbent Pat Bruns in November; Kirstin Hill, who defeated 2nd District incumbent Charles Froehlich; and former Rep. John Hagan, who won the election to replace Nancy Hollister, who declined to seek re-election. The State Board, including newly appointed members, will meet on January 15thto elect new officers.
The Ohio House and Senate will not be holding committee meetings until February. It is widely expected that Senator Peggy Lehner will remain Senate Education Committee Chair. However, it is unclear who the new chair of the House Education and Career Readiness Committee will be. Past Chair, Andrew Brenner, is now in the Ohio Senate. Until leadership issues are cleared up in the Ohio House, we will have to wait to see who emerges to lead various committees.
Once the legislature heats up, it is likely that education issues that have been deliberated but not resolved in the past year will resurface. These issues are expected to include school funding, graduation requirements, school accountability, district takeovers, and school de-regulation efforts. In addition, incoming Governor Mike DeWine has indicated that early childhood education, school drug counseling, and career readiness are his education priorities.
For more advocacy information, please read the latest OAGC Advocacy Corner at www.oagc.com/advocacycorner.asp.