Reexamine new rules for career center boards

Changes to Ohio law could mean a much different makeup in the future for the board governing the Washington County Career Center and other career centers in the state, and could have some unintended consequences.

Board members will soon be required to have certain business experience to serve on the board, such as being a CEO or CFO. The new criteria could eliminate some current and longtime members from serving.

Right now, each school district in the county appoints one of its board of education members to the post so that the career center has representation from Marietta, Fort Frye, Frontier, Wolf Creek, Warren and Belpre, just as the school itself does.

That could be lost under the new guidelines. Not every school board in the county always has a member who meets the criteria.

While it’s nice to have high expectations for those making financial and personnel decisions for the career centers in Ohio, such strict limitations means giving up a wealth of other qualifiers members may have. It’s a strength to have a diverse board made up of people from different industries and backgrounds.

All of the Washington County Career Center board members, past and present, may not have had extensive business experience but all have had experience with the operations of a school district-they all do it within their own home school districts already. The issues facing the career center and the other school systems in the area are often very similar and these members have researched, discussed and made decisions in these areas before. That may not be true of someone who has been a company CEO but who has had little experience with the laws governing school systems, along with the requirements, the challenges and the public expectations.

Those appointed to the board from other districts are elected and are held accountable to the people they serve. The same would not be true of those appointed under the new law.

We need to keep elected officials on these boards and have all of the county represented.

We hope the state reexamines this issue, sees the potential flaws and works to resolve them.