COLUMBUS GROVE — The school board heard from area citizens opposed to Common Core educational standards during Monday’s school board meeting.

A group came to address the board regarding their opposition to the Common Core State Standards Initiative, an education initiative that details what students should know in English, arts and mathematics at the end of each grade. The initiative is sponsored by the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to establish consistent education standards across the states.

Lincoln Bramlage, Glandorf, said they are trying to inform the public about this program. He said billionaire Bill Gates has spent $160 million in promoting this program and has a “cartel mentality.” Gates also has leanings towards eugenics and population control, Bramlage added.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included $4.3 billion to implement the program which has still not been fully implemented.

“The train is slowly leaving the station,” he said.

Virginia Mack, Kalida, said the Common Core reduces the student’s ability for critical thinking skills. She said some of the textbooks being used are “porn” and “goes against our Christian values.”

Glenn Karhoff of Glandorf and father of three, said the mathematical standards “are inferior to what we have.” He noted Dr. James Milgram, a professor at Stanford, has a 30-page report on what is wrong with the math standards in the program.

Karhoff added $4.3 billion was given to the states from the stimulus package approved in 2009, but the states had to agree to accept the standards before the standards were even written.

He said $15.8 billion has been spent nationwide, while $662 million has been spent in Ohio at a cost of $375 per student.

“We are forced to accept these standards,” Karhoff said.

Tammy Morman of Columbus Grove, added there were never any public hearings in developing the program and no parents or teachers were involved. She called some of the reading list “porn” and the majority of the states are rejecting the program. Jean Wright of Columbus Grove, said the most troubling part to her is that Common Core is anti-biblical with aspects of the curriculum that students have no business knowing. There is a math class that states Abraham Lincoln was a liberal and not religious, she said.

Meanwhile, the board approved a motion to start the process of seeking renewal of the 0.75 percent income tax levy for another five years that will appear on the November ballot. Treasurer Mark Ellerbrock noted this is the fifth renewal of the measure that originally brought in $400,000. It is estimated that $848,000 will be brought in at this rate if approved in November.

Superintendent Nick Verhoff reported he has received nine applications for the elementary principal position so far, although he thinks that number will likely double by the end of the week. Verhoff is currently serving as both superintendent and as elementary principal. He hopes to have a recommendation for the board next month.

High School Principal Brian Best reported students are finishing with the writing portion of the graduation testing. He said the Columbus Grove Choral Department did an outstanding job presenting the musical “Annie” last weekend.

“It’s nice to see the kids in a different environment. They did a phenomenal job,” Best said.

The third quarter ended March 14 and grades will be going out next week, so “the seniors are on their last leg.” Best said he is meeting with parents of seventh graders on Thursday to begin planning the Washington, D.C. trip in the fall. Other events include the Scholastic Bowl Thursday at the Educational Service Center; the junior high school dance from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at the elementary gym; Solo Ensembles March 22 and prom on April 12.