On the Call Podcast: Assistive Technology

On The Call: Assistive Technology

by Jeremy Neff & Erin Wessendorf-Wortman

Runs, Hits, and Errors with Assistive Technology: Jeremy and Erin discuss if – and how – you provide assistive technology as part of the IEP. They cover the “what ifs’: What if the technology doesn’t work? What if it isn’t used properly while at home? And while there is no crying in baseball, a recent case from Racine, WI highlights some of the issues that might get you called OUT!   

You can also listen here or on Spotify, Amazon and Google Podcasts. Look for new episodes on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month.

New! On the Call Podcast: MDR Basics

On The Call: MDR Basics

by Jeremy Neff & Erin Wessendorf-Wortman

The Special Education Team of Ennis Britton is pleased to announce the rollout of our new podcast “On the Call”. Each episode focuses on a real-life special education scenario you may have encountered or might bump into very soon. Ennis Britton attorneys Jeremy Neff and Erin Wessendorf-Wortman take the call and then discuss applicable cases and laws related to the scenario presented.

The first episode covers the basics of a Manifestation Determination Review or “MDR”. They review a recent case in Connecticut that has implications for MDR meetings and highlights what you should consider related to the behavior which resulted in the MDR and the importance of digging into the details as you prepare for the meeting.

You can also listen to the first episode of the podcast here or on Spotify, Amazon and Google Podcasts. Look for new episodes on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month.

New! EB’s Career Tech Corner: CTCs Begin Welcoming New Members Statewide

New! EB’s Career Tech Corner: CTCs Begin Welcoming New Members Statewide

As we head into a new year, many joint vocational school districts are welcoming new members to their governing boards. This can be an exciting time, with opportunities to meet and work with fresh faces and new ideas. This might also present some unanticipated challenges regarding appointment of new members, thanks to somewhat “recent” changes in the law over the past few years that have modified the qualifications for an individual to serve on a joint vocational school district board.

Back in 2017, the legislature amended the language in the statute which governs the appointment and qualifications of JVS board members. Under the amended version of R.C. 3311.19, an individual who is a current elected member of the appointing school district board of education is no longer required to have specific business and industry experience or knowledge. They simply must be current members of their appointing board.

You may recall that a previous version of the law amended in 2013 declared a current school board member was required to “have experience as chief financial officers, chief executive officers, human resources managers, or other business, industry, or career counseling professionals who are qualified to discuss the labor needs of the region with respect to the regional economy” in order to serve. Those individuals were further expected to represent employers in the region with knowledge of the state’s workforce needs. Again, now they simply must serve on the appointing board and if they do not, meet alternative qualifications.

There is a second group of candidates who are not currently serving on the appointing school district’s board but who qualify for service if they have “experience or knowledge regarding the labor needs of the state and region with an understanding of the skills, training, and education needed for current and future employment opportunities in the state.” Well appointing new members, preference may be given to an individual who serves on the JVS business advisory council but this is not a requirement.

The statutory language provides broader discretion to an appointing board of education in selecting the JVS board representative for their district than were found in the 2013 amendments. It also means that boards may be drawing from a more diverse pool of candidates, some of whom may have little or no experience serving on a school board or even in a public office. As a result, it is important to prioritize training for new JVS board members to onboard them more quickly in areas such as Sunshine Law compliance, board meeting rules of order, the structure and function of the JVS as an entity, its mission, vision, services and programs, policies and more.

Joint Vocational Schools should also communicate with appointing districts so they are aware of the qualification requirements for the appointment of new JVS members. By appointing an individual, the appointing school boards are expected to be aware of the JVS board member qualifications and by their action to appoint, are certifying that the appointees meet them.

The final change in the law from 2017 worth mentioning is the elimination of term limits. Under prior law, JVS board members could serve no more than two consecutive three-year terms. This limit no longer exists, and members may presumably serve an unlimited number of three-year terms.













































































































































































Ennis Britton is Pleased to Announce Pete Japikse has Joined the Ennis Britton Consulting Group

Ennis Britton is Pleased to Announce Pete Japikse has Joined the Ennis Britton Consulting Group

Ennis Britton is pleased to announce Pete Japikse has joined The Ennis Britton Consulting Group, offering transportation consulting services to the Firm’s clients. Pete is available for transportation consulting assistance including but not limited to T-1 and T-2 training and audit reviews, routing consolidation studies, post-accident procedures, safety issues and help with any of the many technical issues involved in school transportation.

Pete brings over forty years of experience in school transportation services to Ennis Britton and its clients. He has served as a respected resource for Ohio’s public schools, legislators, and government officials in a number of key roles. Most recently retired from the Ohio School Boards Association, he served as a senior consultant for ten years after retiring from state service as Ohio Department of Education’s Pupil Transportation Director. Pete’s state level service was built on his experience as a public-school transportation administrator for both large and small school districts.

Pete has been recognized for his expertise on the national level in the school bus industry regarding issues such as terrorism awareness, transportation funding, federal rulemaking, and safety issues. Pete is a past president of the National Association of State Directors of Transportation and served a key role in the creation of the American School Bus Council, where he acted as a national spokesperson and co-director. Throughout his career, Pete received numerous awards from different organizations, including being nationally recognized as the pupil transportation administrator of the year in 2010 by School Bus Fleet magazine.

Pete has presented to school districts and associations on transportation administration, safety, rules and regulations, and best practices in pupil transportation and authored numerous transportation articles. He has created transportation administrator training programs that provide career training and guidance for school transportation officials.