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Half a century: Ashland Co. Board of Developmental Disabilities celebrates 50 years

By Tim Busbey, Ashland Source
Published Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Over the past 50 years, thousands of Ashland County residents like Ephraim Hong and Richard Kerr have been served by the Ashland County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

Tuesday afternoon, Hong and Kerr helped celebrate the board’s 50th anniversary during an open house and ribbon cutting at Dale-Roy School.

“The real reason we wanted to host this was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the passing of Senate Bill 169 in 1967 which created the county board systems we know today,” said David Ashley, supt. of Dale-Roy School.

Before the bill passed, there was no way to address individuals with developmental disabilities at a local level. The only options available were state-run institutions and parents who created their own programs to help.

Ashland County is unique among Ohio counties, Ashley said, in that it had a school for students with developmental disabilities starting in 1961, before the passage of Senate Bill 169.

“Because this county recognized there was a need to educate students with developmental disabilities and as a result, there was even a 0.3-mill levy that was put on the ballot and passed that built the original school,” Ashley said.

The building was built for $125,000 and was paid off in just four years. “The community did that. The community took it upon itself,” Ashley said.

The board is asking the public to renew a 2.1-mill levy on Nov. 7.

“It’s important that the community understands that 76 percent of dollars that we fund our programs with come from right here locally,” Ashley said.

Most people think of “Dale-Roy,” not the Ashland County Board of Developmental Disabilities, but the school only makes up 20 percent of the board’s expenditures. The board also offers adult day programs, service coordination and residential services.

“We cover the scope of anybody eligible for services for developmental disabilities in this county from birth to death, literally,” Ashley said.

The superintendent recognized the current and former board members, many of whom have served for more than 10 years on the board.

Mayor Duane Fishpaw, County Commissioner Denny Bittle, State Rep. Darrell Kick, Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce President Barbie Lange, and representatives from Gov. John Kasich, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Bob Gibbs, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel and thanked the board for its service and the work it does in the county.

This article has been reproduced for educational purposes only and appeared in the Ashland Source. The original story can be found at:

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