ESC discusses Senate bills

By Kelsey Kimbler -

EATON — According to Preble County Educational Service Center Superintendent Mike Gray, Senate Bill 216 may be “one of the best things” to ever happen to public education. During the ESC Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 28, Gray discussed the bill and how he believes it will positively effect the county and world of education as a whole.

“We’re probably not going to get everything, but we are going to get some really nice things for education from this bill,” Gray said. “There were like 17 or 18 items and we will probably get 12 or 13 of those, which is pretty good for one bill. We joined a Northwest Ohio Advocacy Network, all superintendents. There are some great ideas coming through this.

“The other bill is 512 and that is where they are trying to put all of these things together. The best news we heard yesterday was, that the Senate probably won’t pass this, which is great. I don’t think we need, in education, to have all these three departments in one. I think each one of them sets standards for what they do, and we need to keep that.

“Even though we bad-mouth the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) every once in awhile, I don’t want Higher Education or Workforce Development to take over, and I think that is what would happen. They would come under one person and that is the Governor of the State of Ohio. I think we need to keep those three separate.”

He added, they are trying to rush it through before Governor John Kasich finishes his term.

ESC Alternative School Principal Brent Short shared a success story with the board, about how one of his students has made “impressive” improvements and has come a long way.

“She made the comment last week, ‘I can’t be here next year.’ She is thinking future now. It is not just us in the building, the SAFE team, all those people have seen her turn,” Short said. “There is a brighter future for her and she is handling it very well. She is exactly what we want to happen when kids come to our school. This is where we want them to be. We want them to reach support at some point.”

Board member Kevin Johnston suggested coming up with a success story every month and even using this particular story as a testimonial in the future.

Preschool Supervisor Debby Barnett shared that her number of students has stayed the same.

“The only really big thing I have to report is Step Up to Quality. So, forever we were waiting for our visits and we got two, one in January and one in February. Our January was at Twin Valley South and we have officially earned five stars there. Our February visit was at East Elementary and we were unofficially told that we received five out of five stars,” she said.

“We are still waiting on our ESC site to be re-rated and I expect it will be five out of five stars. It is nice to have them all rated.”

The Preble County ESC will hold its next board meeting on Wednesday, March 28, at 5:30 p.m. in the ESC building.

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