Fears of voter fraud unfounded

Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 @ 7:22 PM
Updated: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 @ 7:22 PM

Coming Sunday

Now that the election results are final, we compare local vote results to past elections and to the rest of the country.

Local election results that were certified Monday and Tuesday appear to show that pre-election warnings of widespread voter fraud or significant voter disenfranchisement did not come to pass.

Some political groups — usually conservative-leaning — warned of double-voting and challenged hundreds of voters’ eligibility. But a review of six local counties — Montgomery, Greene, Warren, Clark, Butler and Miami — where 751,795 people cast ballots shows only two cases where election officials referred a voter to the prosecutor’s office for investigation.

“I don’t know where people hear these horror stories (of fraud), but we haven’t seen it around here” said Sally Pickarski, deputy director of the Clark County Board of Elections.

Other political groups — usually liberal-leaning — fought for more lenient rulings on counting provisional ballots, saying voters could be wronged if their provisional ballots were thrown out.

But in those six counties, provisional ballots (which are used by voters whose eligibility is in question) were actually ruled valid at a higher rate than in the 2008 election.

According to boards of election in those six counties, 85.1 percent of provisional ballots were approved for the Nov. 6 election. Ohio Secretary of State data shows that in 2008, only 83.6 percent of those counties’ provisional ballots were validated.

“Those numbers do reflect well on how well the election was run,” said attorney Ellis Jacobs of the Miami Valley Voter Protection Coalition. “When you look at all the pieces of how an election is run, it’s very easy to get freaked out about it. There’s so many things that could go wrong, and some people … have a hard time seeing the big picture. When you look at the big picture, it works amazingly well.”

Possible fraud cases

The Montgomery County Board of Elections is turning two voting-related cases over to the prosecutor’s office for investigation, according to BOE Deputy Director Steve Harsman. No charges have been filed.

In one case, the BOE found that a man who voted provisionally in Montgomery County had already voted by regular ballot in Clark County, Harsman said. His Montgomery County ballot was thrown out.

In the other case, a Montgomery County man sent in a request for an absentee ballot on behalf of his father, but BOE officials found that the father had died months earlier.

Harsman said those two cases are proof of the safeguards in place to root out fraud.

“One thing we’ve proven over the years is that our results will hold up to any scrutiny,” he said.

The only two election-related convictions in Montgomery County this year involved people falsifying signatures on petitions, not casting improper votes in an election.

Tough calls

Boards of election, working in balanced teams of Democrats and Republicans, review problematic paper ballots where a voter’s intent may be difficult to determine because of unclear marks. Some voters wrote “count this one” or similar notes next to a cross-out on their ballot, making the board’s job easier. In other cases, Secretary of State directives may mandate whether a certain type of mark is counted.

One odd case this year involved 50 Montgomery County voters who cast provisional ballots, but BOE officials found they also had been checked off in the electronic pollbook (indicating that they had been given a card to vote on a machine).

Harsman, a Democrat, told the board that his experience and BOE research into the issue made him think these were cases where poll workers simply mis-categorized a voter who requested a paper ballot. But he admitted there was no way to be 100 percent sure that no one in that pile had voted twice.

The board discussed the issue for 10 minutes, with Republican BOE member Greg Gantt saying he was torn on whether to approve the ballots, weighing Harsman’s opinion against the possibility that his approval could OK a double-vote. The board eventually approved those 50-plus ballots unanimously.

Gantt emphasized that multiple Republican-Democrat teams review tough cases like this. He said his philosophical starting point has more to do with preventing improper votes, while Democrat BOE members he’s worked with are more focused on making people’s votes count if at all possible. But eventually, they reach agreement.

“It’s that balancing act between confidence in the results versus ensuring that everybody who wants to vote, can. And it’s tough,” Gantt said.

Added Democrat BOE member John Doll, “When it comes down to it, we had one guy who apparently tried to vote twice out of (267,000). Nothing’s perfect in the world and you may have one go through, but most of the time (fraud) is just not there.”

Commissioners set to name acting Montgomery County court clerk

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 3:16 PM

Montgomery County Commissioners are expected to appoint Connie Villelli acting Montgomery County Clerk of Courts. Villelli said she is not seeking the job permanently. The county’s Democratic central committee has a month to name a replacement. SUBMITTED
Montgomery County Commissioners are expected to appoint Connie Villelli acting Montgomery County Clerk of Courts. Villelli said she is not seeking the job permanently. The county’s Democratic central committee has a month to name a replacement. SUBMITTED

Montgomery County Commissioners are expected to appoint Connie Villelli acting Montgomery County Clerk of Courts when they meet Tuesday to accept the resignation of Greg Brush, an elected Democrat. Villelli is currently director of compliance and special projects in the clerk’s office.

RELATED: Longtime county court clerk Greg Brush to retire

As acting clerk, Villelli will serve for up to 30 days until the vacancy is filled by the Montgomery County Democratic Party’s central committee.

Villelli, 62, of Englewood said her time as clerk will be solely transitional.

“It’s temporary just to hold down the fort,” Villelli said. “I have no interest in pursuing an elected position, so I’m not in the mix. I think that’s why Greg (Brush) recommended me to the county commissioners.”

MORE: Sinclair to buy Montgomery Co. Democratic Party headquarters

Brush is retiring to take a new job which he won’t reveal until he starts it on Nov. 1, he said earlier this month. He was re-elected in 2016 to a term that runs through 2020.

Montgomery County Democratic Party Chairman Mark Owens said people have time to reach out to the party and express interest in the permanent clerk’s position before the central committee convenes in mid-November to select a replacement. An election would be held in November 2018 to fill the final two years of Brush’s term.

The clerk oversees a budget of about $7 million and a staff of 92 employees. The office is responsible for receiving, docketing, indexing, certifying and preserving court pleadings, orders and other legal documents, including auto titles.

MORE: County courts clerk elected to head state group

Villelli, who also served as the Clerk of Courts chief deputy, has been with the office for 12 years. Prior to that she managed Montgomery County Common Pleas Court processes for 25 years.

Brush’s annual salary was $111,000. Villelli was paid $77,418 in 2016, according to county records.

TRENDING: Dayton competes with 237 others for Amazon’s HQ2

The courts and public will see little change in the operation of the office during the time Villelli is acting clerk, she said.

“We have an extremely talented management team that’s very good at handling the day-to-day operations,” she said. “We don’t think there will be issues we have to address. We have to have someone who can legally sign auto titles and legally sign authenticated judgments, so that will be my signature during this interim period.”

Election 2017: Technology, test scores, focus of Trotwood School board candidates

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 1:21 PM
Updated: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 1:21 PM

Trotwood Schools
Staff Writer
Trotwood Schools(Staff Writer)

Three Trotw00d-Madison School Board members are running in the November election along with two others to fill three seats on the board.

Incumbents Denise Moore, Myra Bozeman and Deborah Daniel are running again. Other candidates include Toni Perry Gillispie and Norman Scearce.

We asked all five candidates what their priorities would be if elected. Here’s a look at some of their responses:

Voters guide: Your best local resource for Election 2017

Find information on races and candidates you care about, by using your location or browsing information on dozens of races and hundreds of candidates.

Q: What are the 3 biggest challenges facing the school district? How would you deal with them?

Myra K. Bozeman: 1. Figuring out the actual problems in the district: Our district has room for improvement. Examining the data and developing a plan to take the district in the right direction can be difficult based on the number of problems that could potentially hinder student learning.

2. Low standardized test scores: Students are meeting their growth goals but are not meeting the required achievement levels.

3. Poverty: Trotwood has a large percentage of students who live in poverty. Poverty is linked to reduced academic achievement. Trotwood needs to continue to examine their data to determine where the underlying problems are hiding. We can aid our students in being successful and reach both growth and achievement levels on the standardized tests, by increasing intervention strategies for the 4-12 grades. The district has provided an increased number of interventions for the Early Learning Center through the 3rd grade. Based on these changes, the district has seen considerable progress.

Myra Bozeman, candidate Trotwood School Board 2017(Staff Writer)

Deborah L. Daniel: Two main issues facing the T-M City School district are academic performance and student mobility. Both issues are interlinked, as the fluidity of families in and out of the district impacts the overall learning environment in our classrooms. Research indicates that stable and consistent school settings support higher achievement levels. When families move often, especially during the school year, it disrupts the learning progression of students with access to and mastery of the Ohio Learning Standards.

Toni Perry Gillispie: The three biggest challenges facing the school district are technology, transportation and teachers. These three issues are not just a problem for Trotwood, but all school districts.

First, technology must be in the classroom with trained teachers on the best technology for the classroom of today. We need to seek out the best practices for technology use and training (for parents as well).

Toni Perry Gillispie, candidate Trotwood School Board 2017(Staff Writer)

Second, the issue of finding great drivers who deliver our students to and from the district must be addressed. The pipeline for driver recruitment, training and retention can only be helped by partnerships and the establishment of programs throughout the community. Finally, our teachers are the face of the district. They are the ones who are social workers, trainers and sometimes the parent and role model for students. We have to build a better relationship with the teachers the board and the city.

Teacher retention must be analyzed and addressed. We need and want the best to be in this role in Trotwood. We need to strengthen our relationship with Teach for America, University of Dayton Urban Teachers Institute and other colleges/universities who produce the teachers.. Overall, my leadership and experience will enhance what is already happening and what I can help bring to the district in the future.

Denise Moore, candidate Trotwood School Board 2017(Staff Writer)

Denise Moore: Testing remains another huge challenge that school districts face. We now find our teachers teaching to the ever changing tests that are handed down by the state. This has created many issues with student deficiencies in core content areas. Our students now have less time for learning new subject matter given the enormous amount of time spent on testing and test prep.

Additionally, with the focus on reading and math scores, our students lose history, world languages, exploratory classes, the arts, and other programs. Parent engagement is critical to the overall success of children. When parents, families, are involved with schools, all children benefit. A lack of parent engagement helps foster failing schools. Consequently, leading to the question of who is at fault (teachers or parents).

Research regarding the effects of family involvement on educational outcomes has shown that parent involvement makes a difference in children’s academic achievement. School funding means less funding means smaller staffs, fewer resources and a lower number of services for students.

Norman Scearce, candidate Trotwood School Board 2017(Staff Writer)

Norman Scearce: The district only offers part time preschool. I would address this proposing the board make the necessary sacrifices to offer all day preschool. Kindergarten age restrictions. I would address this by proposing the district current policy be amended to allow for children who’s birthday falls within 60 days of a schools start date be allowed early enrollment with needing the The gifted evaluation.

Q: What makes you qualified to be on the school board and gives you an advantage over other candidates?

Myra K. Bozeman: I was appointed to the Trotwood Madison School Board in August 2017. Out of six applicants, five people were interviewed and I was chosen unanimously. Since I am currently on the school board, I have an advantage over the other two candidates who are not incumbents.

Currently, I am fully engaged on the policy and finance committees and I am slated to complete several training sessions that will aid me in doing the best job for the district. I am a T-M graduate and have been a professor at Sinclair College for the past 20+ years.

I have an understanding of curriculum and educational policy. My parents are still residents of Trotwood. My oldest son is a graduate of Trotwood and is currently a senior at the University of Cincinnati. My youngest son attends Trotwood-Madison middle school. I am married and have been a homeowner in Trotwood for the past 24 years. Not only do I have the experience and educational backing to do the job, I am fully vested in the Trotwood community.

Deborah Daniel, candidate Trotwood School Board 2017(Staff Writer)

Deborah L. Daniel: I have been living in the Trotwood community over 50 years now. I am the current vice president of Trotwood-Madison School Board. I graduated from T-M along with my brothers and my two sons. My sons have both graduated from college and are current teachers.

As a current TMBOE member, my role of influence for our students is to advocate for the appropriate standards and academic testing. This includes advocating for the overall mental, academic, social, emotional, and physical developmental needs of our students. My job of being an active TMBOE member is very important to me and something I want to continue.

Toni Perry Gillispie: I am qualified to be on the board of education because: 1. I have experience as a listener and a thinker. My previous roles as community volunteer on boards and actual work experience in a public school system has given me the ability to make sound decisions that will benefit the families (students).

2. I have previously worked on the policy and financial committees of a public school system. This knowledge will help me as I learn and progress with the Trotwood district. The board establishes policy and this is one of my strengths.

3. I am a stakeholder in Trotwood. I own a home in Trotwood and want the district (students) to advance and be an asset to the city. 4. I am trained in community economic development. I have worked with the community and for the community for 20 years.

Denise Moore: What makes me qualified to be on the board and give me the advantage over other candidates is that I am able to work with my peers to establish a clear vision and goals for our district. I am also very vocal regarding the protections and provisions of our children.

I am a strong leader and believe in accountability for the board, superintendent, administrators, teachers, and staff. My experience as an incumbent, community advocate, marketing executive and previous business owner, has afforded me the skill sets and opportunity to be able to measure and assess data, communicate information clearly, understand budgets, assess external opportunities for our district, design/create solution based initiatives, and advocate at the local, state and national level for public education for the success of our students.

Norman Scearce: I am currently engaged in the life of the schools in a way the current board members are not. I represent the vast majority of young parents with children in the district.

7 candidates seek 2 seats in crowded Washington Twp. trustees race

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 4:56 PM
Updated: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 4:56 PM

Voting stickers are seen at the Ohio Union during the U.S. presidential election at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan
Associated Press
Voting stickers are seen at the Ohio Union during the U.S. presidential election at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan(Associated Press)

An open seat on the Washington Twp. Board of Trustees has created a crowded field for this November’s election.

Trustee Scott Paulson is running for re-election and six others have jumped in the race. Trustee Joyce Young is not running for re-election.

All of the candidates answered questions for our online voters guide at vote.daytondailynews.com. Here’s a look at some of their responses:

Scott Colwell

Experience: I’ve been involved with local politics for over 10 years. From being a very active member of the Washington Township Forever, to spearheading sensible rezoning.such as SocialROWCPR.com Professionally, I earn my living as a program manager, where managing cost and customer satisfaction are my priorities.

David A. Douglas

Experience: I retired from Washington Township after 30 years of service. During my career, I worked in the Road / Public Works Department; Planning & Zoning Office and was also a volunteer fire fighter. I also received the prestigious AICP Certified Planner designation from the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Brian Feldmeyer

Experience: I have been a resident of Washington Twp. for 35 years. I have worked locally and owned a successful business for a number of those years and currently work with individuals and businesses as an independent insurance agent. I volunteered as a youth coach for 20 years. I served as the President of the Centerville Quarterback Club for two years. I currently serve on the board of the South Community YMCA. I understand the concerns and priorities of the residents.

Katie Levens

Experience: Miami Twp. Administrative Assistant 1996-2000: Prepared resolutions, agendas, board packets, correspondences and budgets for the Township Administrator and Board of Trustees. GDRTA Security & Facilities Supervisor 2000-2006: Managed $2.9-million budget, contract specialist for security and janitorial services, maintained contracts and relations with law enforcement and regional emergency management. Medway Technology, Inc: Vice President 2009-present; defense contractor.

Voters guide: Your best local resource for Election 2017

Find information on races and candidates you care about, by using your location or browsing information on dozens of races and hundreds of candidates.

Sharon Lowry

Experience: Assistant Superintendent (Retired) of Great Oaks JVS. Responsibilities include: Operations, HR, Employee Benefits, Contracts w Vendors. Staff liaison to Board of Education Members; My husband and I are small business owners since 1981. Understand the needs and challenges of small business.

Katie Levens, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)

Matt Lynch

Experience: I’m not a politician. I’m simply fed up with our current Trustees choosing out-of-town developers over those in our community who want to ensure that Washington Township remains a great place to live, work and raise a family. And as a husband and father to four children who grew up here and attended Alter High School I believe we owe it to them to preserve our community. As Managing partner of a consulting firm, with experience as a CEO, CFO, I can solve the township budget issues

Scott R. Paulson

Experience: Washington Township Trustee - 8 Years Owner, Advanced Engineering Solutions, Inc. 21 Years

Education: BS Mechanical Engineering (UD) Master Business Administration (UD)

Q: What are the biggest problems facing the community? What do you propose doing to tackle these challenges?

Scott Colwell: I believe the biggest problem in our community is managing the growth. I am in support of development, provided it does not damage the investments made by the citizens that currently call Washington Twp. and Centerville home. In 2004, the city of Centerville and Washington Twp. co funded “Create the Vision”. It was a 2 year study where over 800 suggestions were gathered from citizens, business owners, and area leaders. The outcome was a series of development recommendations for the city and township on areas such as land use, economic development, and Parks and recreation. I believe we need to be proactive, and revisit those recommendations.

Scott Paulson, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)

David A. Douglas: The city of Centerville - Washington Twp. community is a tremendous place to live and work. The township has seen reduced income from state revenue sharing for several years. We need to find smarter and more creative ways to get the most out of the tax dollars that are spent. Organizationally we are also faced with imminent retirements of key positions. I recommend an organizational restructuring that includes replacing key positions with even more qualified personnel that is capable of getting the most out of the township’s expenditures. These positions would also work together to identify local, state and federal projects that the township can partner to help improve the quality of services and more importantly lower costs. For instance the township spends millions of dollars a year on infrastructure but the township has not had a licensed professional engineer PE / surveyor on staff for 12 years. The hiring of a PE could eliminate cost overruns, project delays and costly legal battles the township has experienced in recent years.

David Doulas, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)

Brian Feldmeyer: The biggest problem is trustees that do not listen to the community. Their failure to address the budget has put them in a place where they make poor decisions that hurt the residents of Washington Twp. Rather than looking for solutions and trying to do things more efficiently, they look for additional revenue with additional or increased taxes with no regard for the community. One of the primary sources of new tax revenue is outside investors. Unfortunately, many times they require zoning to be changed or disregarded for their projects and this harms Washington Twp. in many ways. I would first look to see if there were unnecessary expenses that could be eliminated or reduced. I would then look to see if there were more efficient ways of doing things, rather than continuing to do things the same way that they have been done for years. Once we outlined our options, I would make sure that what was chosen did not harm current residents.

Brian Feldmeyer, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)

Katie Levens: Our number one priority is to maintain our roads and bridges. Our township should continue to work with Montgomery County and the state of Ohio to aggressively secure funding where possible, but the bottom line is that we need to work within our current budget limitations and neighborhood streets currently scheduled for repair or resurfacing need to stay on schedule. We must maintain our infrastructure investment to avoid major rebuild/replacement costs in the future.

Matt Lynch, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)

Sharon Lowry: One of the biggest challenges facing the community is utilizing our tax dollars to meet the needs of the citizens. We need to fund the Fire department, Staff the Sheriff’s Office, recreation center, roads, maintenance, and other departments. Since the Township cannot ask for an income tax, we must utilize our dollars efficiently and effectively. We need to research and come up with innovative ways to maintain the essential services to our citizens. Collaboration with the city and county is necessary to analyze reduction of costs and efficient use of our limited funds.

Sharon Lowry, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)

Matt Lynch: Trustees who are completely out of touch with the community they were elected to serve. Follow the money - the township had $33,084,026 in reserves at the end of 2016. The current 5 year plan reduces reserves to $15,111,969 the end of 2021. This means the trustees approved a budget that spends almost $18 Million more than we all pay in taxes over the next five years. To make up of this breach of their fiduciary duty to you the taxpayer, they will do anything to raise money, including lowering zoning standards to allow developers to do anything they want as long as it generates new tax revenue. They raised taxes twice in 2 years. This week, they voted 3-0 to override the zoning commissions unanimous vote to allow the takeover of Hithergreen violating long-standing zoning regulations. When elected, I will put an immediate stop to zoning changes negatively impacting existing residents. I will reduce spending and find ways to lower local taxes through more efficient government.

Scott Colwell, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)
Scott R. Paulson: Washington Twp. is on a wonderful growth path. With sound leadership in this community, we have planned well for our future and have wonderful opportunities for growth. As the community expands, this growth must be managed and difficult decisions made as to how to facilitate growth in building, recreation and maintain existing infrastructure and programs. Sound leadership with an experienced track record of managing growth is critical to success. With sound business principles and a community minded approach to sustainable growth, I will continue to guide the growth of this community. I will, as I have in the past, challenged decisions, reduced expenditures and invest in worthwhile projects for our community. I believe that the best way to sustain success and deal with challenges is to have good honest debate and make decisions that benefit the most members of our community.

ELECTION 2017: 4 running for Kettering School Board

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 1:05 PM
Updated: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 1:05 PM

4 running for Kettering School Board
4 running for Kettering School Board

There are four candidates running for three seats on the Kettering School Board.

Jim Ambrose and Julie Gilmore are running for re-election to the board against challengers Edward Breen and Darren Cooper.

We asked all four candidates what they would do if elected. Here’s some of their answers:

Q: What are the 3 biggest challenges facing the school district? How would you deal with them?

Jim Ambrose: School districts across Ohio are dealing with the continuing problem of funding public schools and balancing the budget in light of dwindling State funding assistance. Both the state and federal government have limited sources of funding over the past 5 years or so in such a fashion that districts are compelled to do more with less financial support.

Voters guide: Your best local resource for Election 2017

Find information on races and candidates you care about, by using your location or browsing information on dozens of races and hundreds of candidates.

I, as a present board member, have seen first-hand how difficult it is to initiate some programs while de-emphasizing others. There are no easy answers, only challenges to be confronted and we are doing well at that by implementing creative and unique funding/levy efforts. Addressing the educational needs of our children in a forever changing technological and socio-economic landscape has been a high priority of this board. The dynamics of Kettering families have changed over the last several years, so therefore our teachers and administrators are confronted with addressing those changes in order to assure a solid educational basis for those students.

These goals are being met with collaboration and planning. Measuring student success and teacher effectiveness on an annual changing “State scale” is akin to hitting a moving target. School boards are being challenged to predict what next will be required by the State of Ohio almost on a yearly basis. This causes much stress and uncertainty with students, staff and administrators. The board must provide the tools and training to assist our teachers and administrators.

Edward F. Breen: The first is funding for future needs in a fluctuating economy. The state legislature is giving less money to school districts. The school district therefore must come up with alternate ways to maintain the high level of education that the city has become known for. The second is to keep our students safe from the encroaching violence and danger that prevails in our society today. The third is keeping the educational experience up to date and in sync with modern technology and cultural changes. I will work with the board to overcome any of the problems and challenges that the district faces.

Darren Cooper: After 30 years of volunteer service to various school districts, I have learned about the dangers of the distances between Kettering, Columbus and Washington. Governmental mandates make for bad government, not good education policy. Kettering citizens should decide what is best for Kettering students, not some Washington bureaucrat! We must be able to meet the current and future fiscal challenges in running a quality school district. Maybe the most important challenge of all in Kettering is to produce good students and good citizens.

Julie Ann Gilmore: Working to maintain continuous voter support is essential. As a board member I push for a varied and challenging curriculum that meets all student needs in a fiscally responsible manner. We must be aware of changing socio/economic conditions within our student body. Dealing with changing issues is a challenge, but we have set up support groups (Partners for Healthy Youth, Back-Pack Program, Special Counselor knowledgeable about the many county programs, working closely with the City in establishing summer and after-school programs and activities) Assessing, identifying and selecting locations of facilities needed to provide all-day kindergarten and expanded Career Tech programs for the district. We are currently involved in a Strategic Plan process for the district in which I am directly involved.

RELATED: Learn more about the candidates for Kettering School Board

Q: What makes you qualified to be on the school board and gives you an advantage over other candidates?

Jim Ambrose: I have been on the Kettering School Board since 2012, serving on several standing committees including the Insurance Committee, the Athletic Board of Control, the Safety Committee, and the Curriculum and Instruction Committee. Each committee brings with it a unique understanding of core issues and the need to “think outside the box.” My experience as a trial lawyer for more than 4 decades representing people who have been or will be directly impacted by the effectiveness of their education, and in particular reading, makes me qualified and passionate about education. The difference between a “good citizen” and one not so good, is quite often the degree of educational success and achievement one obtained. Those who can read and comprehend are far more likely to perform well in society than those who do not. We, as a board, have a duty and a reasonable expectation to provide a free, effective, and relevant education to every child in this district. It is my desire to continue to serve our taxpayers and make a difference in the lives of our children.

Edward F. Breen: After teaching 23 plus years I want to stay in the education community. I understand what it means to be a teacher in this changing educational climate and will represent their viewpoints. I enjoy working with students and their families. I also will be their voice on the school board. With my strong political background I can help facilitate issues and values and bring city and school together. I have a strong desire to maintain our current excellence in education status and to strive for continued excellence in the future.

Darren Cooper: My strong background in finance provides an advantage in dealing with budgets and other fiscal matters. My financial planning practice had nearly 1,000 state teachers and administrators as clients. Over the years, I listened to them carefully and I learned a lot. This gives me a great advantage in understanding the needs of the personnel in our district, as well as the needs of our students.

Julie Ann Gilmore: In my role as a current Kettering School board member, as an experienced Kettering classroom teacher, and as a volunteer in the Kettering community, I have contributed to the improvement of educational opportunities for all Kettering students. It is my hope to be able to continue making a difference.

Q: What is your top priority if elected?

Jim Ambrose: My top priority is to continue to work toward providing an excellent school district for our children. Over these past 5 years, I probably have learned more about public education demands than I ever thought possible. I believe I am making a difference in our district and have grown to not only appreciate our employees and their vision and passion, but also the mechanics of growing, developing, and nurturing a truly excellent school district. We are fortunate to have teachers, administrators, and staff who collectively care about our district’s children and the community as a whole. I believe I have more to lend to our schools and look forward to serving again. We need, now more than ever, individuals who truly care about what is best for our educational system and what action needs to be taken to implement this goal. Presently, our board’s enactment of a long range strategic plan is the most prudent and logical approach to operate an effective and dynamic school district. This method involves people/citizens from all walks of life willing to come together in a collaborative spirit to address challenges confronting our educational system. Their collective experiences and wisdom broadens the choices and approaches that will be utilized over the next 5 years or so.

Edward F. Breen: School board members have needed to become more involved and familiar with the community and its changing needs. With the evolving dynamic of our city’s population and the rift in some of our student’s family support system, elected officials must be more compassionate and open minded, as they deal with issues that were not common in the past. Problems such as cyberbullying, drugs, and guns are a part of our school district and school board members must become more aware of these problems and come up with methods and solutions that will keep these types of behaviors out of our schools.

Darren Cooper: Our top priority in Kettering Schools is producing good students and good citizens. This includes preparation for the work force, as well as for college.

Julie Ann Gilmore: My top priority has always been involvement in curriculum committee work, and knowledge of the school district by attending many functions at all schools. With this in mind, my priority will be to continue to make a difference in the educational opportunities of all our students.