Governor John Kasich reappointed four members of the State Board of Education yesterday, all of whom voted to eliminate the “5 of 8” rule from Ohio Administrative Code. The “5 of 8” rule, which requires school districts to hire minimum numbers of nurses, librarians, social workers, guidance counselors, arts and physical education teachers, received significant attention statewide over the past few months as the State Board voted 14-5 to eliminate the existing language despite wide public opposition.
The December vote, which was 14-5 in favor of eliminating the requirement, will be coming up for a final vote this Spring when the Board will vote to finalize all of the various changes they have been adopting as part of a schedule five-year review of Ohio Administrative Code.
Farmer and Flory have been vocal about their desire to eliminate the requirement. Farmer has pushed for local control, saying that local boards should be trusted to “make the right decisions” while Flory dismissed the thousands of “5 of 8” supporters who contacted the School Board by simply calling them “misinformed”.
Kasich had the power to swing the vote the other way for this Spring if he would have replaced these four with others who support the “5 of 8” requirement. In the November elections, supporters of the rule picked up additional seats on the School Board, likely moving an upcoming vote from the 14-5 tally in December down to 12-7. If Kasich wanted to show his support for these vital school personnel, he could have replaced at least three of these opposing board members in order to swing the vote from one of opposition to one of support for “5 of 8”. By replacing three of these members, the vote for “5 of 8” would have swung to 9-10 in favor of keeping the requirement.
Governor John Kasich chose to keep his existing appointed board members and allow them to definitively eliminate the “5 of 8? rule.
Kasich is obviously satisfied with the State Board’s actions to eliminate the rule and open the door to reduce the quality of educational services to public school students across the state.