During the Regular Meeting of the Twinsburg Board of Education on Wednesday, March 7th, the Board unanimously voted to oppose HB 512. HB 512 would abolish the Ohio Department of Education by merging the agency with the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, creating a new agency called the Department of Learning and Achievement. This change would substantially lessen the role and authority of the State Board of Education and undermine the ability for members to provide input into the education public policy process.
Twinsburg Board of Education President Matt Cellura stated, “Removing the power from our elected State Board and the State Superintendent and transferring that authority to a political appointee with no public accountability undermines the entire education process and negatively impacts the students that we serve. The passage of this resolution serves notice to our officials in the House of Representatives that we will not sit by quietly while this bill is rushed through the process without the proper input of those most directly affected, and I hope that our action will encourage the residents of the Twinsburg City School District to follow our lead and voice their dissent with HB512.”
Rob Felber, Vice President of the Twinsburg Board of Education further stated, “As an elected school board member at the local level, I am troubled by the lack of notice, request for input, and total disregard HB 512 has for our students, administrators, parents and business owners in our local community. Something is not right when we see how rushed legislators are to pass this poorly crafted bill.”
Under HB 512, the governor would appoint a director to oversee the new Department of Learning and Achievement. In turn, the director would appoint two assistant directors – one with oversight of higher education policy and one with oversight of the Office of Workforce Transformation. While the bill allows the director to appoint other assistant directors, there is no mention of the need for a director of K-12 education policy. Further, HB 512 would move decisions about important topics such as the state’s learning standards, graduation requirements for students and school district report cards to a politically appointed staff as opposed to the current process that includes many opportunities for public input.
Superintendent Kathi Powers added, “With the passage of HB 512, everyone including state legislators, the State Board of Education, the State Superintendent, the Ohio Department of Education, local Boards of Education, Superintendents and Ohio educators will have less influence in matters related to public education in Ohio. I urge our school community to join me in advocacy efforts and communicate to our state legislators your opposition to this proposed legislation.”