The Cambridge City School District Board of Education was the first among several local school boards in the southeast region to pass a resolution supporting an amendment to the way the Ohio School Boards Association selects its leadership.
The resolution was passed at the August board meeting and calls attention to the fact that districts like Cambridge, and many located in Appalachian Ohio, do not have an equal voice on the OSBA Board of Trustees.
The State Association for School Board membership is divided into five regions and is intended to have equal representation from each region of the state. In past years, the OSBA Constitution was amended to allow for additional trustees to join the Board regardless of their region.
The result, according to the resolution, is a gross disparity in the number of trustees from each region. Specifically, the southeast region, which includes Cambridge, is underrepresented.
“OSBA wields a good bit of influence on our state legislators and educational leaders in Columbus when it comes to education policy,” Cambridge School Board member and OSBA Southeast Region president Amy Kissinger said. “It is important that the school board members that represent our districts, our students and their families in our region have an equal voice within OSBA.”
The biggest change to the OSBA Constitution supported by the resolution is eliminating the section that appoints a trustee to the OSBA board from each of the six districts with largest pupil enrollment. Because the Southeast Region does not contain one of the six districts with the largest enrollment, it does not get additional representation to the OSBA board.
Regions with disproportionately more representation are more likely to have the concerns of their constituents addressed by the OSBA than regions with less representation. A predominant position on an issue in one region may not be the same position held by the constituency of another region but will not get the same attention by the trustees because of a lack of representation.
“It is important that districts – the students and families represented by elected board members – have a say in what is happening to their children,” Kissinger said. “The voice of families in the Southeast Region is not audible. That needs to change.”
Since the Cambridge City School District Board of Education passed the resolution, Fort Frye Local School District and Logan Hocking School District BOEs have adopted a similar resolution. For more information regarding the resolution or proposed amendment to the OSBA Constitution, please contact Kissinger at [email protected]