From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Bowling Green State University will celebrate its 292nd commencement August 4. Weather permitting, the event will mark a return to the traditional August commencement on the historic University Hall lawn, following the building’s recent renovation. The rain location is the Stroh Center. The ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. BGSU’s August Class of 2018 has 942 degree candidates from the Bowling Green and BGSU Firelands campuses, including 364 graduate degree candidates and 85 undergraduates receiving Latin honors for meritorious achievement. There are 42 associate degree candidates from BGSU Firelands. Addressing the graduating class will be Ohio Sen. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green), who received his Bachelor of Science in education and his Master of Arts in political science from the University. Gardner, the Ohio Senate Majority Leader, has served northwest Ohio in the Ohio General Assembly for nearly 33 years. During his time in the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives, Senator Gardner has maintained a 100 percent voting record on bills, amendments and resolutions – more than 10,300 consecutive votes since 1985. Gardner serves as chair of the Ohio Senate Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education, where he has advocated for enhanced state support for public education while encouraging efforts to make higher education more affordable in Ohio. Gardner received the Accomplished Graduate Award from BGSU’s College of Education and Allied Professions. He received his Bachelor of Science in education and his Master of Arts in political science from the University. Gardner and his wife Sandy, residents of Bowling Green, celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary this summer. Two of their three children are graduates of BGSU. Their son Brooks received his bachelor’s degree in finance in 2013 from the College of Business Administration and their daughter Christina earned her bachelor’s degree in dietetics in 2015 from the College of Health and Human Services and her master’s degree in food and nutrition in 2017. Their youngest son, Austin, completed his master’s degree in education this summer at the University of Findlay.
(Submitted by Office of State Senator Randy Gardner) State Senator Randy Gardner’s bill to provide a new option for school districts to fund IT infrastructure projects, school security needs and other school improvements passed overwhelmingly in the Ohio Senate Wednesday. Gardner (R-Bowling Green), the Senate Majority Leader, sponsored the 1:1 Match School Facilities Option to allow school districts a new option outside of the traditional Classroom Facilities Assistance Program, that has awarded billions of dollars to school districts in compliance with Ohio Supreme Court decisions requiring improved school funding support. The sponsor of companion legislation in the Ohio House of Representatives is State Representative Steve Arndt (R-Port Clinton). “This new option for schools ushers in a new era of reaching out to districts to help them meet the needs of school children, whether it’s better technology, safer schools or other priority school needs,” Gardner said. “Many districts I represent want this option.” Specifically, the bill allows school districts that have not accepted money in the traditional school construction program to accept smaller amounts of state facilities aid in exchange for a reduced local match. The plan is to get funds to school districts faster while saving state tax dollars from the traditional classroom construction fund. The Ohio Association of School Business Officials, the Ohio School Board Association and the Buckeye Association of School Administrators have all endorsed the bill. “I am pleased that school officials in the area and across the state have joined us in support of this bill,” Gardner said. “We have a real opportunity to make a difference toward better support options for schools.”
By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News It will be months before State Senator Randy Gardner has to vote on the state budget. That’s why he spent Saturday morning at Wood County District Public Library listening to citizens. There was a long list of concerns. The room was filled with citizens worried about paying for health care, municipal leaders concerned about taking further funding cuts, and BGSU professors dreading state decisions. “The budget is many months away from my vote,” said Gardner, R-Bowling Green. So Saturday was part of the senator’s first steps. “The first responsibility is to listen,” he said. Gardner said he spent time Friday at a Toledo area hospital with parents of a toddler named Evelyn, who has cystic fibrosis. The state budget includes a provision that will shift the Bureau of Children with Medical Handicaps into the Medicaid program. It’s those kind of personal stories that Gardner said he needs to hear prior to casting a vote. The 3,512-page state budget is now in House hearings, where it will be voted on in early May. Then it moves to the Senate, where it will face a vote around June 21. Gov. John Kasich will then sign the budget by the end of June, so the fiscal year can start on July 1. The budget includes “hundreds and hundreds of line items,” Gardner said. He cautioned that the governor has the final say on some by invoking his line item veto power. “It’s not all about what the legislature puts in. It’s about what the governor can do,” he said. In response to a question from Bowling Green City Council member Bruce Jeffers, Gardner also explained that even though the Republicans have the majority of the House, the Senate, the governor’s seat and nearly every other state office, that doesn’t mean there is a united front on issues. “We have a lot of differing opinions of how to move forward,” Gardner said. Public school funding is always a battle, and is still being debated. Gardner mentioned Senate Bill 8, which he introduced as a way to help school districts that don’t rank high for the traditional school facilities dollars. Bowling Green City School District is one of those since the perceived wealth of the district makes it unqualified for much building money from the state. While it’s not as much as the school facilities funding, the SB 8 money can be used for technology or security costs, and can be accessed faster by districts. Other issues brought up at the public forum Saturday included the following. INCREASE IN SALES TAX, DECREASE IN INCOME TAX Gardner was asked about Kasich’s proposal to increase the state’s sales tax and decrease its income tax. “The governor has proposed this a number of times,” he said. Though the income tax decrease would be even across the board, Gardner agreed with one citizen that the benefits for lower income residents would be negligible. Gardner said he generally doesn’t support “tax shifting,” and added that “most of the Republican leadership doesn’t agree” with Kasich’s plan. BUSINESS INCOME TAX COLLECTION Bowling Green City Council member Sandy Rowland asked about the state’s plan to take over collection of income taxes from businesses. Before sending the tax revenue back to the local communities, state officials have discussed plans to keep 1 percent of the revenue. Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter has already sent a letter expressing Bowling Green’s concerns about the change. Rowland talked about the loss of state funding in the last few years, “and now comes another potential debacle with city government funding,” she…
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.