Board Votes to Remove Mandates on Art, Gym Teachers

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP): Ohio's state education board has approved a policy change that opponents say could gut elementary school music, art, nursing and counseling offerings statewide.

The Ohio Board of Education voted 11-7 Monday to eliminate the so-called “5 of 8'' rule, which set the minimum number of art, music and physical education teachers, counselors, librarians, nurses, social workers and visiting teachers. The decades-old rule required at least five of those positions for every 1,000 students in a school district.

Board member Ron Rudduck said during contentious debate that after “four or five'' votes on the subject since last year, it was time for a decision. He and other supporters of scrapping the mandate argue school districts and superintendents are in the best position to make staffing decisions.