On December 15, 2016, Governor John Kasich signed Substitute Senate Bill 3 into law, which, once again, will change the qualifications needed for membership on a joint vocational school district (“JVSD”) board of education, as set forth in O.R.C. §3311.19. Since 2013, members of a board of education for a JVSD have been “selected based on the diversity of the employers from the geographical region of the state in which the territory of the joint vocational school district is located represented by the members.” Further, members have been required to “have experience as chief financial officers, chief executive officers, human resources managers, or other business, industry, or career counseling professionals who are qualified to discuss the labor needs of the region with respect to the regional economy.” Finally, appointing boards of education were required to “appoint individuals who represent employers in the region served by the joint vocational school district who are qualified to consider the state’s workforce needs.” These burdensome and subjective qualifications left many JVSDs concerned about whether their boards were properly composed.
Senate Bill 3 has removed the above requirements from O.R.C. §3311.19 and replaced them with the following qualification: “Members of the joint vocational school board shall be appointed by the member school district boards of education. Members of a joint vocational school district board may either be a current elected board member of a school district board that is a member of the joint vocational school district or an individual who has experience or knowledge regarding the labor needs of the state and region with an understanding of the skills, training, and education needed for current and future employment opportunities in the state.” By allowing either current board members or qualified nonmembers to serve on JVSD boards, the vetting process has been greatly simplified.
Finally, Senate Bill 3 eliminates the two-term limit presently imposed on JVSD board members by O.R.C. §3311.19, and also eliminates the requirement that not less than three-fifths of the members of the board reside or be employed within the territory of the JVSD upon which the board member serves. The easing of these restrictions is a benefit to rural, sparsely populated districts, for which finding qualified candidates for JVSD board membership can sometimes be difficult. The changes brought by Senate Bill 3 to O.R.C. §3311.19 will become effective on March 16, 2017.