On November 5th, voters in Springboro will elect three new school board members and perhaps chart a new course for the school district.
Over the past two years, the Springboro schools has been plagued by controversies, including discussions of creationism in the curriculum, experimenting with classes on the constitution, and building a charter school in the district. Now, a group of three candidates are trying to unseat the more conservative majority on the board.
“I do not believe that conservative adequately describes their approach," says Ron Malone, one of those candidates and the former high school principal. "It is more than being conservative. I’m a conservative, but there’s no balance in their approach."
Malone is joined by Charles Anderson and David Stuckey who are running on the ticket to change the makeup of the district. But school board President, Kelly Kohls, who is not seeking reelection, defends the decisions the board has made.
“The school board, the one that I’ve been a part of for four years, has made decisions for all four years that were focused on the students needs," Kohls says. "The data says, clearly, that Springboro schools, in the last several years, has only gone up in academic success, down in remedial needs, and down on the price tag.”
The more conservative candidates are David Bittner and Kolton Vaughn, and only one of them needs to be elected to keep the majority on the school board.
Springboro Schools Superintendent, Todd Petrey, says no matter what the makeup of the board is after the elections, he expects the students to come first.
“I hope that we elect three people who are going to look at how we accelerate student achievement and do it through a balanced budget," Petrey said. "That’s what I’m looking for."
Although all the candidates have aligned into two camps, any combination of the five could be elected, but Tuesday's outcome could send a clear message about the direction voters want the school board to take.