Gardner expects Ross will serve as BGSU trustee despite objections

By DAVID DUPONT

BG Independent News

State Sen. Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, expects Richard Ross will take his seat on the Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees despite controversy about his appointment.

The state Constitution gives the Senate the power to advise and consent on such appointments. The Senate can approve with a roll call vote. Gardner noted that if the Senate doesn’t vote, according to the state Constitution, the appointment takes effect.

Ross will join the board of trustees at its next meeting, June 23 on the BGSU Firelands campus. Gov. John Kasich appointed Ross on May 17 to serve a term that will run until May, 2025.

His appointment has stirred protest. Ross retired as state school superintendent after about two years in office. He did so as the department was embroiled in a scandal about doctoring test scores to make charter schools look more successful than they were.

The official overseeing charter schools, David Hansen, the husband of a top Kasich aide, resigned over the findings. Some called for Ross to resign as well and for an independent investigation into the matter.

Since it was announced, several local commentators have lambasted his choice to sit on the BGSU board. In a commentary published on bgindependentmedia.com, professor emeritus Wallace Pretzer wondered if the university had to accept the appointment. (http://bgindependentmedia.org/opinion-professor-emeritus-questions-fitness-of-new-bgsu-trustee/)

Others called it a blatantly political move.

Gardner said he’s received a couple emails about the matter and read some blogs about it. He said did not discuss the Ross appointment with the governor’s office.

It would be unusual if the senate rejected a gubernatorial appointment, he said.  He cannot remember that happening in more than 20 years. The senate gives governors of either party a free hand to make such appointments.

He said the appointment was “not significantly controversial.” Gardner said no one would question Ross’ commitment to education and to BGSU. Ross has a doctorate from BGSU.

Gardner said that Ross brings “very significant” background in public education. “This is a potential opportunity to have someone on the board who has strong understanding of local school districts.”

Before serving as the state’s top education official, he served more than 40 years in public education and as an advisor on education to Kasich.

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