Ohio Board of Education Votes to Abolish School-Staffing Requirements

Recently, the Ohio Board of Education moved forward with a controversial plan to abolish school-staffing requirements, which could lead to districts eliminating art teachers, librarians, counselors, and other school staff members. In a 14-5 vote, the board voted to remove the state's old "5 of 8" rule. The rule requires that for every 1,000 students, each school must have at least five of these eight positions: art, music and physical-education teachers, counselors, librarians, nurses, social workers and visiting teachers. 

The decision has been met with both praise and criticism. Those who support the decision believe that the rule was outdated and that school administrators will have more flexibility and control to manage staffing requirements. Joseph L. Farmer, a board member, does not think there will be "a radical cut just because we give the authority to local board members."

Conversely, critics believe that teachers and staff members that are not essential for state standardized tests will be eliminated. A.J. Wagner, a board member from Dayton, opposed the vote and believes that the "state should not shirk its obligation" to educate the state's youth. Mr. Wagner was not concerned with the effect that this resolution will have on the rich schools, but with how it will impact poor schools that will eliminate essential staff. Mr. Wagner believes that poor schools "are going to have to eliminate the nurses, social workers and the very people that are essential to making sure those students who are poor get a good education."

The vote, however, is not final, but will go through a legislative-review process, after which it will return to the board for final approval. This is expected to occur in March of next year.

Divorced Couple's Rights to Parent and to Determine a Child's Education

The Ohio Board of Education's recent vote to eliminate the "5 of 8" rule may have a negative effect on the education that some children receive in Ohio schools. Education is vital to the social and mental growth of every child, and every parent must take an active role in a child's education. Research suggests that parent involvement in a child's education can benefit a child in numerous ways, including better grades, better self-esteem, and less violent behavior.

Divorced couples, however, do not always understand their respective rights to parent and to determine their child's education. With the board's recent vote that will allow districts to eliminate certain school staff positions, divorced parents should understand what rights they have to determine their child's education path.

Under Ohio law, there are two types of parenting plans for divorced parents: sole custody and shared parenting plans. Divorced parents can jointly agree on a parenting plan. If parents cannot agree, however, then a court will make decisions regarding parental rights and child custody. In sole custody, one parent makes the decisions regarding a child's care, including education, medical care, living arrangements, and religious upbringing. Under a shared parenting plan, both parents are deemed the legal custodian of the children and have the right to make certain parenting decisions.

In a shared parenting plan, one parent is designated as the "residential parent for educational purposes." This means that if a child attends public school then the child will attend the school in the district where the "residential parent for school placement" resides. While both parents may be deemed "residential" parents if they both live in the same school district, there can only be one "residential" parent if the parents live in different school districts.

As such, the designation of the "residential" parent can have significant implications for the type of education a child receives. Given the recent vote by the Ohio Board of Education, it may be worth assessing whether a change in a child's residential parent is in the best interests of the child and the child's education. Or, a parent who was not the "residential" parent may want to take a more active role in a child's education, including determining a child's after-school programs and extracurricular activities.

Contact a Cleveland Family Law Attorney

If you have any questions regarding your rights as a divorced parent, a Cleveland family law attorney can help answer your questions. We can help you develop a creative and flexible parenting plan to ensure that you can take an active role in your child's life and education. Contact at Cleveland family law attorney at Laubacher & Co. for a free consultation.

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