A state lawmaker is pushing for stricter conflict of interest rules for members of local boards of education.
State Sen. Joe Hune (R-Hamburg Township) has proposed requiring those serving on school boards of local and intermediate school districts or boards of directors of public school academies to abstain from voting on a contract or other financial transaction requiring board approval if they believe or have reason to believe that they have a conflict of interest.
The legislation stipulates that a conflict of interest would be presumed if the board member or his or her family member — a spouse or spouse’s sibling or child; a person’s sibling or sibling’s spouse or child; a person’s child or child’s spouse; or a person’s parent or parent’s spouse, including those relationships created by adoption or marriage — has a financial interest in the contract or other financial transaction, or if that family member is an employee of the school district, intermediate school district or public school academy.
Senate Bill 1051, which would amend the Revised School Code, has been referred to the state Senate Education Committee, where it awaits a hearing.
This isn’t the first time Hune has taken a swing at imposing additional conflict of interest measures. Last year, he proposed barring people who have a spouse, child, parent or sibling employed by a school district from seeking election or appointment to that district’s school board in an effort to stamp out perceptions of, or actual, conflicts of interest.
SB 773 would have vacated school board seats of members upon their spouse, child, parent or sibling becoming employed by the district that school board governs.
That bill, which was referred to the state Senate Local Government and Elections Committee on Oct. 20, 2011, has not been moved out of committee.
Repeated messages left for Hune and his staff went unreturned prior to press time.