VANDALIA — Ohio State School Board Representative Charlotte McGuire visited the Vandalia-Butler Board of Education work session on Monday evening to hear concerns of the board and administration.
District officials shared concerns with McGuire ranging from state testing, report cards, and school funding.
“I am here to learn about you and for you to learn about me,” said McGuire. “I am new to the State School Board and feel its part of my purpose-driven life.”
McGuire was appointed by Governor John Kasich to fill the remainder of the term vacated by A. J. Wagner who resigned last November. She represents Montgomery, Miami, Butler, Preble, and part of Darke counties.
McGuire commended the Board for passing a resolution demanding more local control of education.
“I’m a firm believer in local innovation, design, and determination that you make the decisions closer to home where the children live because you know them,” she said.
“You are talking our language,” said Superintendent Robert O’Leary.
Director of Curriculum and Student Services Brandon Hartley presented concerns over the state testing model. Specifically they said moving targets, changing tests, and methods of testing presented problems.
Hartley, when noting that the district had passed all the indicators in English and Language arts for many years, said all of a sudden things changed two years ago.
“We had never missed in the Language Arts indicator,” said Hartley. “All of a sudden, everything changed. We didn’t change teachers, we didn’t change the way we instruct students, but all of a sudden the test changed and we didn’t meet any of the indicators.”
He said that the district fared similarly in math.
Treasurer Eric Beavers told McGuire that the district’s tuition rate and state aid is over half the amount the district will send to a charter school for that same student.
This is a huge issue for me to stand up and answer for our community,” said Beavers. “I’m all for choice as long as they are being held to the same standards as our schools are. It’s their (the community’s) money, they have high demands, and they should. But lets make everyone taking our money have the same standards.”
“Their state accountability, and state measurements, are not the same as ours,” added O’Leary.
He also expressed concern about College Credit Plus which he called “a wonderful program” while also noting that the school funding model in Ohio is based on grades K-12 – not higher education.
“I have a problem that K-12 (funds) are paying for a college education,” said Beavers. “As a Treasurer, its a nightmare. I’m denying my kindergartners, my little guys, opportunities because I’m paying for higher education. There’s something wrong with this picture.”
Beavers also expressed safety concerns for younger students in College Credit Plus.
“My bigger concern is, first and foremost, how is it of benefit that we are sending a seventh or eighth grader or even a ninth grader into a college environment – they are minor children – and they are thrown in with adults.”
The Vandalia-Butler Board of Education will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, October 24 at 6 p.m. at the Board of Education office.
Reach Darrell Wacker at (937) 414-5018 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.