Kelli Kohls of the Springboro School Board: How to solve the education riddle

These are the kind of people who have created a dysfunctional public school system. Yet here is the Treasurer of the Springboro Education Association making a speech on how valuable she is, to justify why she should have tenure, and why she should be so highly paid. This woman is a union lobbyist, the kind of person that routinely pushes law makers to create laws just to shut them up. These are the type of people who Kelli Kohls of the Springboro School Board have to deal with on a routine bases.

People can say what they want about Doc Thompson, but anyone that says he doesn’t look at every side of a story to arrive at the truth is doing themselves a disservice to fallacy. Doc is a guy that asks questions and invites all sides to present their arguments. The invitation has been extended to school board members and superintendents all across Ohio to come on his show and dispute the accusations people like myself have leveled at the education industry and very few people have taken advantage of the offer.

That is till today, May 27, 2011. Kelli Kohls on the eve of a large vote in Springboro with their teachers union which occurs at 6:30 pm, came on 700 WLW to offer an insiders opinion of where public school is failing. The interview is particularly telling since it comes from a woman who is actively pursuing proper management of a school system, so her insight is magnificently portrayed in this hard-hitting interview, which is one of the first of its kind.

As Kelli stated in the interview, her school board can only really control approximately 15% of the total school budget. This is because of state laws and union negotiations that take the other 85% completely off the table. Kelli is noticeably frustrated because she genuinely wants to help her district. She wants kids to learn, and she wants the parents of those kids to get a good value for their tax money. But her hands are tied from every direction. She tells the story that so many ambitious community members tell that end up running for the school board, to help their community, only to discover that there is a giant political machine in place that makes all their efforts worthless.

I know several good people like Kelli that are current school board members, or former school board members. We’ve all discussed the process and how it’s broken. We all know the political games that are tied up into politics and the aspiring school board member must make a decision once they are elected by the community. Do they play ball with the unions, in exchange for financial benefits in indirect ways, discounted trips to Columbus where they are treated well and brought under the umbrella of the union syndicate. Or do they retain their values and continue to fight on behalf of the kids and the tax payers? If they do, it is a certainty that they will be singled out and hunted down by members of that syndicate.

Kelli is the school board member that I mentioned in another article, (click here to review) that the OEA was actively pursing harassment. That’s because she is one of the board members that is continuing to vote against their control of her district. She has a right to vote against them, because she is representing the interests of the tax payer. It’s not to the tax payer interest to have their taxes increase and still receive the same level of mediocre service. So she pushes back with her vote, and the OEA has singled her out.

I watched what happened to another friend of mine, Jennifer Miller formerly of the Mason School Board. (Click here to see the video Jennifer appeared with me in for an I-Team report by Brendon Keefe.) Jennifer was one of those lone voters that had the guts to go against the union syndicate and she was punished to no end. Watch this video where she had a confrontation with another board member. It’s not a position that avoids conflict. To do the job right, such confrontations are a necessity, sadly.

Many people have been pushing me to run for the Lakota School Board, which I have no interest. I’m used to having my way, and I would be enemy number one for the teachers union because they are openly extorting the public and I’d point that out publicly. I would bring constant combat to a school board because I don’t bend on anything. Negotiation to me is making people see things my way, because I work very hard to figure out the truth of a matter so negotiation is pointless, because all you’re doing in such negotiations is compromising to accept the other party’s feelings. In this case the other party is the union syndicate. But the truth is that public education has become too much about money and far too little about children, so feelings are irrelevant.

My vision for school boards is to have several people like Kelli on the board, people who will stand up to the union syndicate on behalf of the tax payer. I’ve seen personally that only one or two board members are not enough. There needs to be three or four such personalities that can actually garner a majority vote. That’s the only way to get these school systems under control, at least the start of it. But for now it eases my mind to know there are board members like Kelli out there fighting the good fight for all the right reasons, and there are people like Doc Thompson that will give equal voice where in the past there has only been silence.

Rich Hoffman!/overmanwarrior