Lee Murray
TheNewsOutlet.org

Name: Ronald W. Rudduck.

District 10: Appointed Aug. 29 by Gov. John Kasich to fill open seat. Must run in November 2014 to fill unexpired term, ending Dec. 31,2016. Covers Clark, Madison, Greene, Fayette, Ross, Jackson, Gallia, Lawrence, Scioto, Pike, Adams, Highland, Brown, Clermont and part of Pickaway counties.

School board committees: Capacity; Executive; Operating Standards.

Age: 60.

Residence: Wilmington.

Political affiliation: Republican.

Occupation: Retired superintendent, administrator and teacher in rural public schools; adjunct professor, Xavier University and Antioch University Midwest. Teaches school finance, business affairs and facilities to prospective school administrators.

Education: Attended public schools; bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education.

Family: Married, two grown children who attended public schools.

Other boards, affiliations: Author of The ABCs of School Finance, a book on the Ohio school funding system; consultant, Ohio School Facilities Commission and the Buckeye Association of School Administrators.

Like Gov. John Kasich’s other appointments to the state school board, Ronald Rudduck, 60, is a Republican.

But when Kasich tapped Rudduck in early September to fill an unexpired term, he was choosing a person critical of state leadership for changing school funding with each new governor.

Rudduck was a public school teacher and administrator all of his life, serving as superintendent for the Clinton-Massie school district in southwest Ohio from 1999-2009.

From a position of experience — someone who every other July had to adapt his school district to a new state biennial budget enacted by the legislature and governor — he self-published a book in 2012 detailing Ohio’s system of school funding and critical of its instability.

“Every newly elected governor and legislature feel the need to enact their own programs,” Rudduck wrote in the introduction to The ABCs of School Finance.

“Just when we get comfortable with the system, it is thrown out and a ‘new and improved’ model is rolled out.”

Rudduck was born and raised in a rural environment, and has worked in rural Ohio most of his life. Clinton-Massie is a small district in southwest Ohio, and like most districts of its type, it was mostly white and performs well on state report cards.

Rudduck attended public school, and switched from business to education during his time at Wilmington College, a small liberal-arts school. He also attended Xavier University in Cincinnati, a private, Jesuit Catholic University.

Rudduck is an adjunct professor at Xavier University and Antioch University Midwest.

In a telephone interview, he said he considers himself a “lifelong educator” and is familiar with the processes involved in “creating policies and procedures and doing things that impact the kids and teachers throughout the state of Ohio.”

He said that he is not familiar with problems facing urban schools and opted not to answer questions regarding issues in large-city schools.

He framed himself as a conservative Republican, but unlike most others on the state board who would describe themselves the same, he said he believes the state’s obligation is “to the public sector, because that’s where most of the kids are, and that’s where most of the tax dollars are going.”

He is not opposed to charter schools or vouchers if the schools receiving the students with the vouchers are held accountable. He said that his perception is that the voucher program is doing “a pretty good job.”

Answers to some interview questions:

Q: Ohio do you think about the four forms of education in Ohio: traditional public, charters, private and home schools.

A: Public education has been around a long time and the foundation of our society. I certainly am not opposed to competition, so to speak. Community schools are all a new phenomenon. We’re looking for different ways to provide educational services — it’s not a bad thing. I think it’s going to take some time to sort things out from an accountability standpoint, the funding standpoint. I think that’s the direction not only in Ohio. I think the limited resources … are not only driving the demand for a different way, different methods to provide different educational services.

Q: What do you believe is the state’s obligation to each of those four types of education?

A: I think it’s still a relatively new phenomenon as far as the accountability system and the different types of educational systems. I think the primary obligation is to the public sector, because that’s where most of the kids are. That’s where most of the tax dollars are going to. I think again — the private and charter and community and — as they prove worth and prove themselves, that they can be successful, that they can be accountable, probably will seek and probably get more of those tax dollars that are allocated to the public schools.

Q: Is there a context in which you believe a discussion of human sexuality is appropriate in publicly funded schools?

A: There are a lot of things that schools have been asked to do over the last decades, and I think there are certain things I that are reserved for the parent. That’s probably one of the areas that is more of a parental responsibility than a school responsibility.

Q: What about climate change?

A: Anything that’s taught should be research based, and kids should be given the opportunity to draw their own conclusions. You can present the data — and data can be presented in a lot of different ways — but once you do it, to be fair and objective about it. Give the kids the opportunity to draw their own conclusions. There’s no agreement in society in general. So, rather than formulating opinions for kids, let them formulate their own by giving them the data objectively.

TheNewsOutlet.org is a collaborative effort among the Youngstown State University journalism program, The University of Akron and professional media outlets including WYSU-FM radio and the Vindicator in Youngstown, the Beacon Journal and Rubber City Radio in Akron.