“I’d like to replicate the Olentangy school district and board, and put them in other parts of the state, because we’ve got hundreds of dysfunctional boards and districts,” says state Rep. Andrew Brenner, chairman of the House Education Committee.
Brenner, R-Powell, spoke to the Olentangy Board of Education recently about a variety of topics in his new role at the Statehouse.
Brenner, R-Powell, said he took over as chairman of the education committee last fall, and is a member of other state education-related committees.
“For the last six months, I’ve been trying to get my hands around all aspects of being chairman,” Brenner said. “I’ve visited districts all over the state. Interestingly, some of the previous chairmen had not been attending these meetings for years.”
He praised Olentangy for receiving A’s on the state report card.
He also said he agreed with state Auditor David Yost that the state’s Department of Education was “in dire need of restructuring.”
“I personally believe we have too many tests.”
Brenner said he wants more state funding to go toward growing school districts like Olentangy.
“I’m going to try to meet one-on-one with Gov. (John) Kasich to discuss education policy, and one of the issues we’ll discuss is school funding. I can get through to him some of the concerns we have, and hammer out a new school funding formula with new state superintendent Paolo DeMaria. I think there’s plenty of funding there.”
“The governor has been very staunch in his use of Olentangy as a whipping post as a district that is affluent,” said board member Roger Bartz. “An administrator shouldn’t be at the Statehouse lobbying on behalf of the district.”
The College Credit Plus program will be tweaked this summer and fall, Brenner said. Students in the program take courses from community colleges for high school and college credit.
“We have three bills in the House Education Committee dealing with College Credit Plus,” Brenner said. “There’s going to be a lot more discussion. You don’t want kids taking college-level classes that are really easy, and going up in class rank over a student who’s taking an Advanced Placement class. Along with textbooks — we had kids in some districts selling their textbooks on eBay, even though the districts paid for them. Those types of issues are going to be addressed.”
Before the meeting on June 9, the board attended a ceremony to begin work on the district’s fourth high school, along Berlin Station Road.
“We had a wonderful experience for our groundbreaking for high school number four, the 24th building that we will have in our district,” said board President Dave King.
Also at the meeting, Superintendent Mark Raiff said Olentangy was one of five districts in the state to receive S&P Global’s highest bond rating, and Moody’s gave the district a positive outlook.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.