CLEVELAND — Gov. John Kasich named a realtor and three managers of manufacturing companies to the state school board this week, continuing his efforts to make workforce preparation a greater part of Ohio’s education system.
Kasich has made better preparation of students for careers a major goal of his administration, winning on some issues. But he was thwarted on two much-publicized ones - seeking to have teachers spend time in businesses and a bid to merge the state departments of education, higher education and workforce development into one.
Kasich staff had no comment on the appointees, but new appointee David Brinegar noted that he and other new members can bring business perspective to the table.
“There really does seem to be an effort to get business involved,” said Brinegar, CEO of Fulton Industries, a manufacturer of flashlights and auto parts in Wauseon, west of Toledo. “As education evolution has gone forward, there has probably not been enough focus on business.”
The other appointees, pending legislative approval, are:
• Cindy Collins, a realtor in Lancaster, southeast of Columbus.
• Mark Lamoncha, head of Humtown Products in Columbiana, just south of Yongstown. The company makes products for the foundry industry.
• Michael Toal, president of Everyday Technologies, Inc., a metal fabricator in Sidney, located about halfway between Dayton and Lima.
They are slated to replace board members Joseph Farmer, Cathye Flory, Kara Morgan and outgoing board president Tess Elshoff, whose terms all expired at the end of 2018.
Ohio allows the governor to appoint eight of the 19 members of the state school board on staggered terms. These new appointments give Kasich a chance to have more impact than most governors have, however.
Kasich was able to pick new board members when taking over as governor in 2011, with the Republican-dominated legislature balking at confirming appointees of then-outgoing governor Ted Strickland, a Democrat. Now, Kasich is making new appointments again even as Governor-elect Mike DeWine is set to take over on Jan. 14.
But DeWine is allowing Kasich to make these picks. DeWine spokesman Joshua Eck said the board seats should be filled before the board’s organization meeting the day after innauguration.
“They are appointments that should be made by Governor Kasich,” Eck said. “We have had a great relationship with the Governor’s team and are working with them on a range of transition issues, including the state school board. We’ve had great conversations with them about the board and all it entails.”
The timing between appointing members and the board organizational meeting was not a concern in 2011, when Kasich appointee Tom Gunlock was named to the board the day before the meeting and immediately elected as vice-president. In addition, the Ohio Attorney General’s office also ruled last month that an appointee could vote at the board’s organization meeting without needing legislative approval first.
But Kasich staff said cooperating with DeWine made sense this time.
“There were very large differences in approach and policy between this governor and the previous one and those led, in part, to Ohioans putting this governor in office,” said Kasich spokesman Jon Keeling. “Those same big differences simply don’t exist this time. There’s far more alignment and we’re glad to have conversations with the incoming Administration to help set them up for maximum success.”