State school board votes to abolish '5 of 8' staffing rule

The Ohio Board of Education voted on Monday to eliminate school-staffing requirements that critics argue will allow districts to eliminate music and art teachers, librarians, counselors and other staff.

After 3½ hours of public testimony and debate, the board voted 11 to 7 to abolish the so-called “5 of 8” rule.

The decades-old rule requires schools, with some exceptions, to have at least five of the following eight positions for every 1,000 students: art, music and physical-education teachers, counselors, librarians, nurses, social workers and visiting teachers.

“There was ample opportunity for discussion, ample opportunity for amendments. I think it’s time for an up or down vote. Any rule can be revisited at any time,” said Ron Rudduck, a board member from Wilmington.

“We’ve had four or five votes since last year.”

Rudduck and other supporters argued that the mandate was outdated and school administrators and superintendents who sought the change were best positioned to make staffing decisions for their districts.

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