Ohio Board of Education backs ending ‘5 of 8’ staffing rule

The Ohio Board of Education moved ahead yesterday with a plan to abolish school-staffing requirements that critics contend would allow districts to eliminate art teachers, librarians, counselors and other staff members.

After more than two hours of debate, the board voted 14-5 to approve a resolution of intent to do away with a state requirement that schools have certain numbers of art, music and physical-education teachers, counselors, librarians, nurses, social workers and visiting teachers.

The decades-old “5 of 8” rule mandates that schools have at least five of those eight positions for every 1,000 students.

The rule now goes through a legislative-review process and returns to the board for final approval in March.

School administrators and superintendents sought the change. Supporters say that it is outdated and that eliminating staffing requirements will give districts more flexibility and control.

Critics say it will encourage cash-strapped schools to eliminate teachers and staff members in areas not deemed essential for state standardized tests.

Read more at the Dispatch