|Penta leadership concerned about selection of future board members|
|Written by DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Monday, 22 July 2013 11:10|
A change in the way members of career center boards are selected could have non-residents deciding on tax issues for local residents.
The change in how board members for joint vocational school districts, including Penta Career Center in Perrysburg Township, was included in state budget signed by the governor at the end of June.
Starting Dec. 31, three-fifths of the board must "live or work in JVSD territory," the law says.
Superintendent Ron Matter said that means someone could live in Findlay, but work in one of the center's 16 member districts. "You could conceivably have someone not a taxpayer in the district deciding on taxes that would never affect them," the superintendent said.
"This whole thing gives me a lot of heartburn."
The new law also stipulates that members "shall have experience as CFOs, CEOs, HR managers or other business, industry or career counseling professionals who are qualified to discuss the labor needs of the region."
Members appointed as of Dec. 31 would also be restricted to serving two three-year terms.
Board members are now selected by either city school districts or educational service center boards with Penta's service area. The law also forbids a board from appointing one of its own members, unless the appointee meets the business-related criteria.
Mater said he was concerned about losing "institutional knowledge" that comes from having some long-serving members.
On the Penta board Judith Sander, , from the North Point ESC, has been on the board for more than 20 years.
A retired educator, she would be one of five board members with terms expiring at the end of the year. The others would be board president Bob Righi, from Maumee, Ken Sutter, Rossford, Judith Paredes, Wood County ESC, and retired educator Joe Rutherford, the Educational Service center of Lake Erie West.
Exactly how their appointments will be affected is uncertain. "There's a whole lot of things to try to figure out with these regulations," Matter said. "It leaves you scratching your head."
Matter noted as an example of the problems he sees with the new law the case of Apollo Career Center in Lima, which has just approved a bond issue for a major building project. The board members who studied and approved that project may now be replaced by members "who have no knowledge of how the institution operates."
Matter said the provisions were added in late May to the Senate's version of the bill before career center officials could comment. They did weigh in against the changes when the budget was in conference committee, but to no avail.
Matters said State Senator Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) attempted to have the provisions stripped from the budget.
Matter said he was unsure why the State Senate leadership wanted the changes. Penta which is in its 49th year of operation as the oldest career tech school in the state, has worked closely with the business community.
The school has more than 30 business advisory committees related to the school's courses of study. Matter said he always tells the members of those boards to tell school officials what they need to know "so we can provide the best trained workforce you think we need."
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