ESC Board discusses SB216

By Kelsey Kimbler -

EATON — According to Preble County Educational Service Center (ESC) Superintendent Mike Gray, Senate Bill 216 is “still going strong.”

During his board of education report on Wednesday, Jan. 24, Gray noted the effort has been “stalled,” but he is confident that if the bill does pass it will help the education field as a whole.

“Senate Bill 216 is stalled. Dec. 12 or Dec. 15 was the last time they met on Senate Bill 216. I think it is still going strong and that it is going to be a good bill for education, but we will wait to see what happens there,” Gray said.

He added, he joined a superintendents group in Northwest Ohio that was “probably” responsible for 216 being available. It is a one year fee of $750, that he is splitting between the Preble and Darke County ESC.

Board President Rhonda Schaar asked him to talk more about Senate Bill 216 and why the board is backing the issue.

“We want it to pass because it is going to take some of the things that we have to do off, so it will help us on teacher evaluations, teachers who may have a K-12 or K-3 that we can use, maybe K-8,” Gray said.

“They are still deciding what it is going to be, whether the licensure will be K-8, K-6, and then there’s 5-12, so that is what they are working towards, which will give us more flexibility.”

Schaar added, “It increases local control, because you know what is needed in your area.”

“We’re not dictated by the state so much,” Gray concluded.

“Are the colleges the ones giving the push back right now?” Schaar asked. “They are the ones who have tried to dominate how we can do our business.”

“Right now, yes. Originally it was K-3, 4-9, and 10-12. There is not one school district in Ohio that operates that way,” Gray said. “That is the reason most of us are fighting back on that. Plus, it gives the principals more flexibility on who you can hire and where you can put them.”

Alternative School Principal Brent Short shared they were able to get Chrome Books for all of their students, to be used at school only and students are not permitted to take out of the building.

“It has been amazing to see them take responsibility for those. Even the younger ones who have been known to throw things, they have taken very good care of them. They know what they can do on those and what rewards they can get. It has been a very good thing so far,” Short said.

“We’re still figuring out how to fully use those. Teachers have been spending their days doing training. So far, it is very positive and after they go through the training it is going to be even better. It has been a blessing, kids aren’t stuck in one location and they can move around.”

The next ESC Board of Education meeting will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 5:30 p.m.

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH