The Orange Board of Education Monday unanimously elected Rebecca Boyle to serve as the board president for the calendar year 2021. Dr. Boyle will succeed Beth Wilson-Fish, who served as the board president for the last two years. Both remain voting members of the school board.

“Everything we do is in the best interest of our students, staff and faculty and we work very hard to do that,” Dr. Boyle said during the meeting. “I am very excited that they have faith in me to take us, hopefully, out of this horrible pandemic and into a better place at the end of this year.”

Dr. Boyle was the only nominee for the position. The board selected Melanie Weltman to serve as vice president this year. She was the only nominee for vice president.

“2020 has been quite an interesting year,” Mrs. Wilson-Fish said prior to the votes. “Not just for us in the Orange City School District, but also for all teachers, educators and anyone associated with schools in Ohio and our nation.”

Later in the meeting, Dr. Boyle said that she wanted to address some questions on how board meetings are run. She said that she wanted to review their role as a school board to help the members of the public who may be new to school board meetings understand the procedures.

She said that according to the Ohio School Boards Association, the school board sets educational goals and establishes policy for the school system based on state laws and community values and employs a superintendent and treasurer.

The board also sets district policy, plans student services, adopts curriculum, establishes budgets and acts in a manner that is fiscally responsible and in the best interest of the district and within the scope of their legal authority.

“We hope that we are a connection between the parents in the community and the schools,” Dr. Boyle said.

Board members serve as advisers to Superintendent Lynn Campbell, she said adding that board meetings are not meant to be a public forum or town hall. Dr. Boyle explained that the public is invited to comment at the board meetings, but board members do not usually respond to comments. According to the Ohio School Boards Association, public participation is encouraged at board meetings but not required.

“As you know, we’ve always valued input from our community,” she said. “I know that you don’t always agree with our decisions. If you’ve been around long enough, you’ve seen that we have a lot of spirited discussions here during our board meetings.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Campbell also held a series of virtual town hall meetings throughout 2020 to explain the district’s plan for its virtual and hybrid learning models, answer questions and gather feedback from parents and students.

Dr. Boyle said that the Ohio Revised Code requires six board meetings per year. The Orange school board approved 21 meetings in the calendar year 2021. Board members will be compensated for up to 24 meetings at the maximum rate allowed by law, which is $125 per meeting.

The board also sets various special meetings throughout the year as needed and two extended meetings that serve as a retreat to discuss some topics in depth, such as the curriculum and levy planning.

Board members Jeff Leikin and Deborah Kamat joined the meeting virtually. It was held in person at the Pepper Pike Learning Center.

Julie Hullett has been a reporter for the Chagrin Valley Times since August of 2018 and covers Gates Mills, Hunting Valley, Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike and Woodmere. She graduated from John Carroll University with a journalism degree in 2018.

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