State Board Dems stand up for public schools

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The State Board of Education Jan. 12 elected two members appointed by Governor Kasich to lead the board. Tom Gunlock, of Dayton, and Tess Elshoff, of New Knoxville, were elected president and vice president, respectively, over Pat Bruns, of Cincinnati, and Mike Collins, of Columbus, elected members who were nominated for the roles. Votes for leadership of the non-partisan board were cast along strict party lines: appointed members Gunlock and Elshoff are Republicans, elected members Bruns and Collins are Democrats.

Prior to the election of board leadership, a minority group of Democrat members of the board announced their intention to press issues negatively impacting public education. They cited a lack of accountability in Ohio's charter school program for cyphoning funds away from traditional public schools, causing programs and staff to be eliminated. Holding state Superintendent Richard Ross accountable and urging the legislature to support public education is on their agenda.

The group of seven staking their claim as a Democratic faction of the board who support public education, includes OFT member Roslyn Painter-Goffi, retired president of the Berea Federation of Teachers, retired teacher Pat Bruns of Cincinnati, and former legislator Bob Hagan who were elected to the board in November. Others include Stephanie Dodd, Ann Jacobs, Mary Rose Oakar and Collins.