Board set to pick new Ohio schools superintendentWritten by Associated Press | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The new Ohio public schools superintendent expected to be chosen this week will not be directly appointed by Gov. John Kasich, but he will help the Republican carry out an ambitious education agenda that includes expanding school choice and crafting a new formula for divvying state tax dollars among districts.
The 19-member Ohio Board of Education convened its multi-day monthly meeting July 10 in anticipation of conducting interviews of the two finalists for the superintendent’s job on Monday. The board’s decision and vote are expected July 12.
The panel of both elected and appointed members was choosing between Reynoldsburg superintendent Stephen Dackin and education consultant Robert Schiller. Dackin withdrew his name from consideration on July 10, prior to his final interview. The director of Kasich’s Office of 21st Century Education, Robert Sommers, also was named a finalist but had to drop his bid due to ethics restrictions.
The new superintendent will replace Deborah Delisle, who resigned under pressure this spring. Delisle got the job while Democrat Ted Strickland was governor.
Kasich spokeswoman Connie Wehrkamp said Kasich has met with both Dackin and Schiller but respects the state school board’s right to make the final selection.
“This is a very important decision for the state and it is reasonable for the governor to work closely with the independent Department of Education and the board to decide who the next superintendent will be,” Wehrkamp said. “But at the end of the day he understands the decision rests with the Board of Education.”
Board president Debe Terhar said either candidate for the job will be up to the challenge of revamping Ohio’s educational offerings.
“I’m looking for someone who is reform-minded and willing to shepherd through the changes that need to be instituted,” Terhar said. “It’s all encompassing. It’s what I campaigned on, which was helping to bring about changing the status quo. We’ve done things for so long the same way, with the same result. It’s time to do something different.”
State lawmakers have thrown out Strickland’s so-called evidence-based model for determining district funding levels, a system based on the latest research on such issues as student-teacher ratios, classroom approaches and effective training.
The new governor now wants to come up with a fresh approach.
The budget Kasich signed on June 30 contains new teacher evaluation requirements that he says are similar to provisions of both Senate Bill 5, the divisive collective bargaining overhaul that’s facing a repeal effort, and Ohio’s application for Race to the Top, President Barack Obama’s quality-schools competition.
“The governor wants the new superintendent to put kids first, help them be successful at whatever it is they want to do, and work in partnership with parents and teachers to make this happen,” Wehrkamp said.
Barbara Mattei-Smith, the governor’s assistant policy director of education, has scheduled a series of meetings around the state starting Monday to talk to educators about school funding.
According to an invitation distributed to teachers and school administrators Friday, she will be meeting with teachers, principals, superintendents and treasurers to come up with the guiding principles for the new system. Each meeting is expected to include a one-hour discussion with teachers and a one-hour discussion with principals.
“Gov. John Kasich has committed to developing a new school funding formula with the goal that funds will reach the classroom,” the invitation said.
Dale Butland, a spokesman for Innovation Ohio, a liberal policy think tank, said that before Friday the state’s largest teachers’ unions had not been included in the process.
“Ohio is now the only state in the country that does not have a school-funding formula, so I presume these meetings are designed to come up with the formula,” he said. “But you certainly would want to include teachers in that discussion.”