Voter Guide

The counties included in the voters guide are: Montgomery, Warren, Miami, Greene, Clark, Champaign, Preble, and Butler.

NOTE: Not all communities have issues or candidates on the ballot.

Ohio Board of Education District 4

District 4 includes Warren and Hamilton counties.

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    Pat Bruns

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    Jenny Kilgore

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Biographical Information

Should Ohio students have to pass some form of academic standardized test to graduate? If not, what requirements should be in place?

Do you support Ohio’s Academic Distress Commission law for taking over low-performing schools? Why or why not? What would you change?

What are the most important qualities for a state superintendent of schools? Do you believe Paolo DeMaria is doing the right things in that job?

What changes could Ohio make to its PreK-12 education system that would have the most immediate positive impact on student performance?

Is there a specific topic in PreK-12 education that you have studied closely or want state officials to study more closely?

How do you feel about the current system of ranking schools based on test performance? Performance on statewide tests consistently show that Ohio school districts that serve affluent communities perform better than those with high concentrations of poverty. Critics of the system say all the ranking system does is punish students in poverty.

Some argue the best way to close race- and income-based achievement gaps is increased funding for preschool programs. The group Groundwork Ohio argues that a child’s academic preparedness entering kindergarten is one of the greatest predictors of his or her success in school and ultimate employability, yet preschool funding gets just 6 percent of what the state spends on higher education. What are your thoughts on this? Do you support expanded state support for preschool and supporting families before a child enters school?

What is your position on school choice? Some advocate more accountability and standards for charter and voucher-funded parochial schools, while others advocate expanding vouchers and access to charters and private schools. What role do you think charters and private schools should play in the educational landscape?

Experience Member- Ohio State Board of Education/District 4 2015-2018; Board Chair-Price Hill Will, Comprehensive Community Development Corporation 2013-14; Volunteerism-Price Hill Will, Arts, Housing and Education Community Action Teams 2004-2014; Harmony Garden, a non-profit advocacy for girls’ health and well-being 2011-12; Muralist-Working with a team of high school students and other professional artists, created two ArtWorks MuralWorks in Over-the-Rhine and in South Cumminsville 2008-09; Teaching- Art Educator/Northwest Local School District 1974-2004; Entrepreneur-Art Parts, Custom Framing/Art Gallery, Clifton, Ohio 1982-1994
Education Masters in Art Education, 1985- Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; Bachelor of Art in Education, 1973- University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky; University of Cincinnati, DAAP-1969-1971; Graduate-Oak Hills High School, Cincinnati, Ohio 1969
As a State Board of Education member on the Graduation Requirements Workgroup and a career art educator, I do believe that we should have in place assessments that measure students’ academic progress. I just do not believe that our current state-mandated testing system, which is reliant on one being a “good test-taker”, captures the various ways students can demonstrate what they know and are able to do.

In our workgroup, we are considering what an equivalent graduation pathway might look like that would rely on multiple measures of a student’s accomplishments. Such opportunities might include portfolios, capstone projects, a culminating experience, an internship, or a career-technical program. In addition, there might be a minimum required G.P.A. and attendance rate. We are also reviewing best practices in competency-based assessments as a way to evaluate equivalent pathways.
According to the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation 2025 Goals data, only 43% of all Ohioans possess a 2-year associate or 4-year college degree or an industry-recognized credential. If in poverty, less than 12% of all Ohioans possess these important indicators for potential success. The three years of “F’s” for low-performing schools on the State Report Card should not trigger a state take-over as these schools tend to be chronically in our most challenging socio-economic areas. For this reason, Ohio’s Academic Distress Commission, as currently written, should be eliminated. I strongly believe that in a “small d” democracy, locally elected boards of education should not be reduced to an advisory position or the superintendent replaced by a CEO as written in this law. Rather, the Ohio Department of Education’s Ohio Improvement Process continues to evolve and is an effective tool for local school districts to conduct a needs assessment, identify strengths to build upon, and to develop a comprehensive improvement plan. This process should then guide the state’s responsibility to position necessary resources and services where they are needed most to help students succeed.
Regrettably, in the last ten years, Ohio’s education system has slipped from a national ranking of 5th to 25th. State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria possesses many qualities that will again position Ohio to be the world-class education system I knew when teaching. He possesses excellent communication and organizational skills, an open-mindedness and curiosity that invite divergent ideas. DeMaria has cultivated a collaborative leadership style that actively engages all stakeholders to tackle the complex issues facing education today. Recently, in the development of our 5-Year Strategic Plan, EachChild=OurFuture, over 1400 stakeholders were involved as members of the plan’s workgroups and/or at regional stakeholder meetings. DeMaria has reorganized the Department of Education to be more effective and innovative. His team routinely provides board members with comprehensive information to assist us in carrying out our responsibilities. I do believe that he is doing a good job and it is because of the reforms we are putting place under his leadership that I am running for re-election.
Changes that Ohio could make that would have the most immediate positive impact on student performance would be to expand graduation requirements options I outlined above, expand career-technical program opportunities, and invest in universal pre-school.
If the future of work forecast is true, our graduates will change careers eight to ten times in their work life and that will include those who choose teaching as a career. Ohio already has a lower number of students entering teacher preparatory programs than many other states. The 50th annual Phi Delta Kappan reports that Americans trust and support teachers but 54% do not want their own children to join a profession they see as undervalued and low-paid. We must dramatically change the teaching and learning environment in order to attract and retain high-quality teachers and to create a culture of collaboration and shared goals within a school/district for teachers as well as students. Teachers will need time within the school day to review, reflect, and revise their strategies in a collaborative environment. They will need to be equal partners when decisions about their workplace, salaries, and benefits are being made.
Ohio’s education system should be accountable to students, parents, and taxpayers; however, ranking districts does not accurately give the unique and complete profile of a district’s efforts. The Accountability and Continuous Improvement Report Card Workgroup, of which I am a member, recently presented an interim report to the full board. We will reconvene in October to discuss placing a greater emphasis on ways to understanding the progress of students as an important equity consideration. We also believe that strategic decisions should be evidence-based and that the State Report Card should capture data that will help districts make local decisions. It should also provide clarity of content and be understandable to parents, caregivers, and the community.

Some of the most important research in the last twenty-five years has focused on the brain. If a child’s brain is 90% developed by age five, then it is clear that we should invest in high-quality universal pre-schools. In Cincinnati, Success By Six and more recently, our community’s investment in The Pre-School Promise are focused on accessibility to affordable early childhood care and education in all neighborhoods. In order to achieve this goal, there is much to be done in the realm of awareness and education within our communities to emphasize this critical need to give our youngest future leaders a great head start.
In 2000, 2001, and 2002, the Ohio Supreme Court’ s ruling in DeRolph v. State deemed the school-funding process in Ohio unconstitutional. Regrettably, a solution was never spelled out by the legislature. As a result, we remain reliant on local tax levies tied to property value and on those taxes collected from local industries that still reveal a disparity of programs and resources available equitably to all students. First and foremost, I will continue to work to put in place a public school funding system that is equitable and adequate for all students, no matter their zip code. In the meantime, the State Board of Education can make community schools and nonpublic schools more accountable for public tax dollars by working with the legislature to create a separate line item in the budget. Public monies levied at the local level and state-funding formulas should not be negatively impacted by/or diverted to community and nonpublic schools. In the spirit of fiscal responsibility to our public taxpayers, all schools that receive public tax dollars should be held to the same accountability, transparency, and standards as traditional public schools.
Experience I have been elected to the Village of Glendale Council since 2004, currently serve as Vice Mayor. I serve on West Point Society, Cincinnati Board of Directors; West Point Leadership & Ethics Seminar Planning Committee; Mid-Western Educational Research Association Board; Hamilton County Watershed Oversight Board; First Suburbs Consortium of Hamilton County Executive Board; and Connecting Active Communities Coalition Board. My extensive experience in education, history of community involvement, and investment in public service make me a valuable resource to represent you and your family on the Ohio Board of Education.
Education I graduated from Deer Park High School, Xavier University with a M.Ed., and Miami University with a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and am extremely knowledgeable of the needs of our local school districts. Currently, I teach undergraduate students at Miami University and Cincinnati Christian University, as well as, graduate students at Indiana Wesleyan who aspire to become educators. Previously, I taught middle school language fifteen years, at Landmark Christian School.
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My goals as a member of Ohio Board of Education are to support our districts’ students by providing our teachers with the tools and supports that they need to be effective and provide the supports that our students need to be active learners. Issues of Importance  Safe learning environments  Fiscal responsibility  Stakeholder (community & parent) participation; local control  Accountability & choice: quality opportunity for all students: preparation for post-graduation endeavors