Happy New Year to everyone in NEOEA; I hope everyone is having a great school year! On November 10, 2018, NEOEA held our annual Representative Assembly. The meeting started off with the usual introductions, but then came to a halt as we held a very touching memorial to our own recently-departed Brian McConnell. The video and song tribute for Brian was a great way to remember all of the wonderful contributions he has made over the years and how he has touched so many lives.
Given this indomitable spirit, the RA moved on and got right down to business. The delegates passed a new Constitution and Bylaws amendment that allowed the Board of Directors to create a temporary President-elect position that would circumvent a conflict with our current language. The Board then elected to post a temporary position effective November 10, 2018, and running through July 14, 2020, at which point the new President-elect will take office. The delegates voted Melanie Hameed from the Warren Education Association to fill the position. Congratulations to Melanie, who has already begun to get to work in her new role!
Our delegates at the RA very generously contributed over $4,500 for FCPE. Considering the outcome of the most recent elections, we all know the importance of these contributions! The delegates also heard a report from NEOEA’s Internal Political Action (IPA) Committee followed by speeches from all of the candidates. Two of NEOEA’s members received an early endorsement from the RA. Current Past President Jeff Wensing was given the early endorsement in his bid to become our next OEA Vice President. Also receiving the early endorsement was NEOEA’s Kim Richards in her bid to become re-elected as our NEA Director #3. Please spread the word to elect these two excellent NEOEA candidates and to make sure NEOEA continues to have a voice in Columbus and in Washington D.C.! These elections will be held at the Spring OEA RA.
The RA also heard from Larry Ellis, President of Youngstown EA, and Karen Winston-Carpenter, President of East Cleveland EA. These two districts, along with Lorain EA, are all facing school takeover as a result of HB 70, which Governor Kasich signed into law in 2015. Recently, the Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal from Youngstown which argues that HB 70 is unconstitutional. A large part of the appeal is that HB 70 violates the constitutional rights of voters to elect their own locally-controlled school board. East Cleveland also has a lawsuit regarding HB 70, school takeovers, and the inaccuracies of the current Report Card Grade given to the district by ODE. Current HB 591 seeks to make changes to the highly-criticized school report card system. Delegates at the RA showed their support for these districts by signing petitions at the RA to urge lawmakers to fix this broken system.
These Representative Assemblies are so important and much great work gets done. This is why I feel they are so valuable in steering our organization. I encourage all of our locals to hold annual elections so that your local can be represented! Thank you, NEOEA, for making this fall’s RA so successful!
United we are stronger,
Published in our Winter Issue 2019 of News & Views.