The courthouse was jumping Tuesday evening, as polling booths in 77 Scioto County precincts closed and results were ready to be eagerly counted on hot state issues, council seats, and more. While there were many issues to vote on, it is important to remember the dedicated individuals who manage area school districts.
There were 15 educational institutions awaiting results for school board members and members of educational service centers.
Five school districts had contested races, including Green Local School District, Washington-Nile School District, Northwest Local School District, Scioto Valley School District, Valley Local School District.
Eight school districts had non-contested races, including Bloom-Vernon Local School District, Clay Local School District, Eastern Local School District, Minford Local School District, Wheelersburg Local School District, Bloom Township, Portsmouth City School District, and New Boston School District.
South Central Ohio Educational Service Center had two individuals running uncontested, Paul D. Crabtree and Arnold McCoy.
Ross Pike County Educational Service Center had one uncontested member for the governing board, Turman Helton. Ross Pike also had one unexpired term uncontested for Timothy Williams.
For contested school districts, final results were as follows:
Green Local School District: Robert Cline, 420; Keith A. Otworth Sr., 627; Sandi Poe, 676.
Washington-Nile School District: Tom Berry, 1090; Cathy Coleman, 1374; Leonna Jane Reiser Kouns, 803; Scott Staggs, 552.
Northwest Local School District: Keith Crabtree, 1084; Adam Jones, 773; Jared Lute, 1419; Jake Orlett, 874.
Valley Local School District: Carl W. Crabtree, 763; David Flowers, 949; Troy A Gahm, 726; Brett A. Smith, 677.
Scioto Valley School District: Jeff Cutler, 0; Annette L. Jenkins, 0; Norman Dean Lightle, 0.
According to Ohio Revised Code, newly elected members of any board of education would take office with the new year.
“The terms of office of members of each board of education shall begin on the first day of January after their election and each such officer shall hold his office for four years, except as otherwise provided by law,” the Ohio Revised Code reads.
While there are many duties and requirements of a board member, there is more to the job than making it to regularly scheduled meetings. They are support to teachers. They are the defenders of student rights and entitled educations. They work many hours to ensure their district succeeds.
South Central Ohio Educational Service Center Superintendent Sandy Mers has a long history working with school boards and knows the importance. While she says they have a big job, their mission is very basic: serving children.
“A school board member is charged with hiring the superintendent and treasurer and creating policy,” Mers said. “The importance of this is children. The school board helps work toward the vision set for the district in order to create the best educational environment possible.”
Mers also said a lot of the work a board member does to achieve his mission goes unnoticed.
“A school board member puts in more time than just their board meetings. They read, read, read —current legislation updates, educational articles, and keep up with board policy updates,” Mers explained. “There are many hours of their work that probably go unnoticed.
Since a board member is required to do so much, the Ohio Department of Educations stresses the importance of choosing the best person suited for the job, especially a person who can stand as a model for staff and students.
Ohio Revised Code (ORC) even requires those elected to take an oath before they can step into office.
According to the ORC 3313.10, “Before entering upon the duties of his office each person elected or appointed a member of a board of education shall take an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and the constitution of this state and that he will perform faithfully the duties of his office.”
Once a person takes the oath, they are officially made a board member of their home district and will work to run the schools in their charge. This includes a lot of work, from regularly scheduled meetings to special meetings. They deal with any controversy a school faces and they make the touch decisions.
These tough decisions have to be made, though, and Mers reminded voters prior to the vote that the reach of a school district is also important to the community it serves.
“A school board member is helping work toward a district vision,” Mers said. “They are focusing on what is best for kids which only strengthens a community.”
Official results will be made available in ten days.
Reach Joseph at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.