Sometimes the private business of state school board members overlaps into their roles deciding policy for Ohio.
At least four board members have business and private interests that compete directly for education dollars. Two are lobbyists cruising the government hallways urging lawmakers and staffers to make decisions beneficial to their clients who have a stake in public education money and regulation of schools.
Another is married to a lobbyist for private schools who has attempted to sway the state board as recently as this month, and a fourth generates income from public education programs also administered by the board.
They suggest there is no problem with this activity, they police themselves, abstain as necessary and file the necessary statements with the Ohio Ethics Commission.
And while the ethics commission says the law may seem clear — state law “prohibits a member of a state board or commission from receiving compensation for services he or she performs personally on a matter that is before the board or commission on which he or she serves…” — the practice often falls into a gray area.