Moreover, some board races — most notably in Lakota Schools — also included candidate campaign allegations of Critical Race Theory — and its curricula variations being taught without some school parents’ knowledge.
Lakota officials have contended CRT is not taught in its 17,000-student district.
The recent meeting of the Lakota school board saw some members describe the past year and its controversies involving some disgruntled school parents complaining at meetings as historically contentious.
Kelley Casper, president of the Lakota Board of Education, used the words “upheaval” and “strife” when describing some parts of the last two years.
Departing Lakota school board member Brad Lovell, who did not seek re-election, said working on a public school board during the global pandemic was like being on the political “front lines” on a variety of hot-button issues.
The Lakota board saw voters elect two political conservatives to the five-member governing body.
Hamilton’s Board of Education caught its own share of blow back in 2021 with some school parents blasting its members during board meetings for a since relaxed mandatory student masking policy.
And for some coronavirus policies — and other reasons unrelated to the pandemic — Madison Schools’ governing boards also experienced unusual friction with some of its school parents in 2021.
Lewis said the OSBA’s member services will soon be conducting its annual training sessions for newly elected school board members around Ohio.
Included in those instructions will be some more emphasis on the legal responsibilities and traditional practices local school boards use while engaging the public that elects them.
“We are going to be spending some time on how public participation works. There are a lot of misconceptions on what Ohio laws require. They (OSBA trainers) will touch base on that but I don’t think it will be dramatically different,” he said.