Kelly Kohls is the head of the Warren County Tea Party and President of the Springboro School Board.
According to public records obtained by Plunderbund, Ms. Kohls is the first person to contact Republican Prosecutor David Fornshell about a letter sent home to Franklin City School children criticizing the Governor’s unfair school funding plan.
In the email, sent at 10:09AM on February 14th, 2013, Kohls includes a copy of the letter from Franklin Schools Superintendent Arnol Elam and asks Fornshell “I know of a ORC code that strictly prohibits political campaigning using gov. resources. Can there be legal actions here?” .
After hearing from Kohls and Ohio Republican Party staff, Fornshell opened a politically-motivated investigation into the Franklin Superintendent while neglecting the responsibilities of his office. The investigation has since been closed.
Kohls has no affiliation with Franklin City Schools and she does not live in the district. Instead, she is a conservative activist who regularly takes her anti-school levy message on the road to other districts that are looking for ways to handle the massive education cuts in Kasich’s budgets.
Franklin City Schools received no increase in state funding this year, Kohl’s Springboro School District is slated to get a 16.32% bump under Kasich’s new budget proposal . Both districts are still running at a loss of funds having received huge cuts in the last budget. In 2013, Springboro lost $938,061 in state funding compared to 2011, or the equivalent of a 1.08 MIL levy. Franklin City Schools lost $1.5 Million, requiring a 3.37 MIL levy to restore funding.
Kohls seems quite happy preaching fiscal responsibility and belt-tightening when teachers and school staff are the ones on the receiving end of the cuts, but she doesn’t seem to quite muster up the same fervor for fiscal control in her personal life.
In 2010, the Dayton Daily News reported that Kelly and her husband were unable to keep up with the payments on their three car loans and the $829,000 in mortgages on their $450,000 house. They declared bankruptcy that same year with total liabilities of $908,110. School board members are paid by the meeting. Since 2008, Ms. Kohls has earned a total of $12,750.
Kohls blamed her financial woes on the “catastrophic financial events that has (sic) led our country into this recession” and explained that she was unable to find another loan after her home value dropped and her “mortgager went out of business”.
Ironically, the first national Tea Party protests were sparked by comments from CNBC’s Rick Santelli who went on a live TV rant about federal government plans to help refinance bad mortgages like Kohls’. Santelli claimed the government was “promoting bad behavior” and “subsidizing losers’ mortgages”.
Given the outcome of Kohls’ poor financial decisions, it’s hard to take anything she says about personal responsibility seriously. Still, Kohls continues to travel widely, speaking about her “successes” in starving Springboro schools of funding while putting her conservative, Tea Party stamp on the district.
Kohls and fellow school board members David Petroni and Jim Rigano have refused to put renewal levies on the ballot and they withdrew from the Ohio School Board Association, instead joining the Ohio School Boards Leadership Council, a “conservative alternative” to the OSBA that Kelly helped found.
In 2011 Kohls pushed to have creationism taught in the Springboro school