PREBLE COUNTY — Senate Bill 216, entitled Enact Public School Deregulation Act — dealing with primary/secondary education testing — was referred to the Education Committee on Oct. 18. The committee will have to hold a hearing and refer it to be voted upon. During the wait, Preble County Schools are beginning to discuss the bill and vote on resolutions in support of it, in hopes it will provide relief for rampant mandates and regulations.
The bill is to amend and or repeal sections the Ohio Revised Code to enact the “Ohio Public School Deregulation Act” regarding the administration of preschool and primary and secondary education programs.
Now it is up to Preble County boards of education to decide whether they are in support of this bill, in hopes of getting their voices heard by the Education Committee and the Senate as a whole.
During a November meeting, Preble Shawnee Board of Education passed a resolution in support of the bill. The resolution reads, “Whereas, the increasing burden of state mandated regulations on Ohio’s public schools has reached a critical point.
“Whereas, many of these regulations waste valuable time and money that should spent on teaching and learning. Whereas, we desire to work in collaboration with our appointed and elected officials to address the accumulation of problems being generated by these regulations.
“Whereas, Senate Bill 216 (Ohio Public School Deregulation Act) has been introduced to addresses some of these problems by: eliminating barriers to employing high quality teachers, eliminating the unnecessary duplication of tests used to assess student learning, providing a more accurate method (paper test) of assessing a third-grade student’s ability to read and write versus their technical ability on the high stakes third grade reading test, requiring the national testing service to provide meaningful information for teachers to use to help children learn and grow, restoring the rights of parents to have some control over their children’s attendance, restoring the ability of school boards to enforce education policy that meets local community needs, consolidating and streamlining state reporting requirements to reduce time expended on unproductive paperwork, and providing relief from other mandates that have accumulated over time.
“Be it resolved, that the Preble Shawnee Local School District Board of Education, being duly elected and acting as representatives of a legal and statutorily independent local board, supports Senate Bill 216 as a start to increasing efficiency and effectiveness in the state system of education.
“Be it further resolved, that a copy of this resolution be sent to all members of the Ohio Senate Education Committee.”
Superintendent Matt Bishop explained, “This is a resolution in support of Senate Bill 216. This is called the “deregulation bill.” Over the last few years there has been a lot more activism throughout the State and a lot of push back about the requirements that are being forced on districts. The mandates and testing changes. We have a Senator in Ohio who came up with the bill.”
The Preble County Educational Service Center has also been discussing this proposed bill. During an ESC Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 15, Superintendent Mike Gray discussed the bill as it was explained during Capital Conference.
“Senate Bill 216 was announced the day before by Ohio Senator Matt Huffman. He spoke before us and this is a bill that will help Ohio schools tremendously,” he said. “There were 150 people out there listening to Senator Huffman. He was saying all the right things. I think if this bill passes we’re going to have more leeway, as far as what we can do. I hope it does pass.
“He has things in there that are going to save money and time. Superintendent Bob Fischer of Twin Valley Community Local Schools is trying to put together a meeting, including Darke and Montgomery superintendents, to discuss Senate Bill 216. During Capital Conference, we discussed what the next step would be.
“All of the school districts in Preble and Darke County are going to come up with a signed resolution from all the board members indicating our support of Senate Bill 216.”
Tri-County North Superintendent William Derringer brought up the bill, and potential support from the board, during his meeting on Monday, Nov. 20.
“I wanted to mention a little bit about Senate Bill 216. I mentioned it during the last board meeting as well. This is something that most of the schools in Southwest Ohio are having their boards approve resolutions in support of. Most of those are going to go through in the December meeting.
“I thought we could talk about that and decide if we wanted to pass this resolution in December. We have been talking about this for 10-15 years. Every time you turn around the State is requiring something new that we have to do. Senate Bill 216 will provide some relief.”
As Derringer noted, more discussion of the proposed bill will be had throughout the state during December. More Preble County boards of education plan on passing resolutions of support during their next meetings.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH