Tuesday, Dec 06, 2016
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Education

Penta board frets over new state law

Term limits, residency change

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    The Blade/Jetta Fraser
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    Matter

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Judy Sander has been on the Penta Career Center school board since 1992, but she may be forced out Dec. 31 because of a change in state law.

House Bill 59, signed into law June 30 by Gov. John Kasich, limits board members to two three-year terms.

It requires three-fifths of joint vocational school district board members to live or work within the district.

It also specifies that members include a chief financial officer, chief executive officer, human resource manager, or other industry professionals or career counselors to represent employers in the region.

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Several of these conditions worry Penta Career Center Superintendent Ron Matter, who cited the possibility that someone who lives outside the area but works in the Penta district could vote on tax proposals without personally being affected.

“It just makes me scratch my head,” he said. “Where’s the local control and elected officials? I have some constitutional concerns with that.”

Board members now are drawn from, and appointed by, school boards in Penta’s service area.

“I think there is value to having elected members of the school board,” said Ms. Sander, who represents the Northpoint Educational Service Center on the Penta board.

“People from my districts can contact me with concerns, or if they don’t like what I do, they could not vote for me next time around.”

The way the bill is written, a board member will be appointed by the represented district’s school board.

Mr. Matter is also concerned about losing continunity on the board, such as Ms. Sander’s 22 years of experience.

“Judy Sander has been with us for 20-plus years and has a lot of institutional knowledge,” he said. “She has helped grow and change the perception of career technical centers.”

Ms. Sander said Penta board members typically need about two years to learn about programs and issues at the center, so completely turning the board over during the course of six years seems unwise.

“I’m not sure where this came from,” Ms. Sander said. “I think we functioned well and were producing tremendous students.”

Penta board President Robert Righi, owner of Perrysburg-based First Filter LLC, said he doesn’t understand the law’s emphasis on business backgrounds over educational ones.

“The end product is education,” the Maumee school district representative said. “If that is not grounded in, it doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

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