Five candidates are on the Nov. 7 ballot for the Delaware City School District board of education election.
Incumbents Jayna McDaniel-Browning and Frances O’Flaherty face opposition from three challengers — write-in candidate Mark H. Butler, Deborah Kruse Guebert, and Michael J. Wiener. Voters will elect three members to the school board.
Current board president Deborah Rafeld is not seeking reelection.
Mark H. Butler
Butler said the DCS board is in need of cultural/racial diversity.
“I am the only candidate that can make that change,” Butler said. “I have experience working in public schools as a juvenile probation officer, resource officer, substitute teacher as well as a performing teaching/artist in residence for private and public schools.”
Butler said he has been an active community participant in DCS board meetings.
Butler said the most pressing issue facing the district is recruiting more racially and culturally diverse applicants for DCS employment opportunities, closing the academic gap between students, improving community partnerships, and more diversion programs for challenging youth
“My plan in addressing these issues is to become actively involved in the DCS schools and community,” Butler said. “When elected, I will provide DCS leadership, commitment and service.”
Deborah Kruse Guebert
Guebert said she and her husband moved to Delaware in 2010, to join up with the rest of his family, who had gradually migrated here from St. Louis. She said they lived overseas for a number of years, where their married daughter still resides, and were very appreciative of the active small town community that they found here.
Guebert said she has been involved in teaching and tutoring math in several countries, most recently as a math tutor to students in the Delaware City School District, as well as adjoining districts.
“It was in this context that I became aware of the devastating effects of the reigning ‘progressive’ ideology on how children learn,” Guebert. “The beautiful simplicity of order and logic that defines true mathematics, had been replaced by a hybridized system of primitive strategies and pictograms. There was also a constant requirement to ‘explain’ in imprecise everyday words, that for which a precise and well-defined vocabulary of math terms and symbols, had been carefully developed over centuries.
“Accordingly, I joined the general effort of like-minded parents and others, to return our schools to sounder footing, becoming involved in several iterations of repeal Common Core bills at the Statehouse,” Guebert said.
As a result, Guebert said she was invited to be a subject specialist on the 2015-2016 Common Core Math Standards and Assessments Review Committee, an eye-opening experience regarding the modus operandi of the Ohio Department of Education.
“It continues to be my passion to restore the joy of learning to a system that seems to have been overwhelmed by requirements, regulations, red tape, and ivory tower theories,” Guebert said. “We still have a surprising measure of local control here in Ohio, and with the support of the community, I will advocate for taking full advantage of every opportunity to use what exists, and to reclaim more, for the sake of our children, and our future as a free and independent people.”
McDaniel-Browning said she has lived in Delaware for nearly 14 years along with her husband, Jim Browning, and their two sons.
McDaniel-Browning works part-time as a social media/marketing consultant and has been a weekly in-classroom volunteer at Woodward Elementary for more than seven years.
She has served on the board of education for four years. McDaniel-Browning said she has been described as smart, committed and passionate and said those qualities are what she brings to her work on the board.
“I am skilled at strategic planning, communications, budgeting, training, hiring, and staff management — all of which are important to running a successful school district,” McDaniel-Browning said. “I also understand the pressures of balancing family life around work, school, extracurriculars, and community involvement. Open and frequent communications between schools and parents have never been more important.”
McDaniel Browning said adequate school funding remains the single greatest challenge for Delaware City Schools.
“As a ‘capped’ district, the amount of money we receive from the state per student is significantly less than the state average,” she said. “It is a testament to the dedication and innovation of our administration and staff that we’ve continued to provide great educational experiences for our students under these financial constraints. As a board member, I’ll continue to keep a close eye on spending while encouraging our state leaders to provide fair and adequate funding for all school districts.”
Outside of funding, McDaniel-Browning said anti-bullying initiatives, arts programs, and physical activity are three special areas of focus for her.
O’Flaherty served on the school board since 2003. She was born in Delaware and has lived here most of her life. O’Flaherty said she graduated from OSU and has 16 years of full-time teaching experience along with several years of subbing and part-time teaching when her children were young. She said both of her children graduated from Hayes and are currently students at Oberlin College. Her husband Pete works in telecommunications for Delaware County.
“I am running for re-election because I believe that continuity is beneficial to the Board and my years of experience in the educational field and on the board specifically will be helpful to the schools and to the community,” O’Flaherty said.
O’Flaherty said the most pressing issue facing Delaware City Schools is funding.
“The most pressing issue today is the lack of appropriate funding to our district,” O’Flaherty said. “Our school administration has done a fantastic job of stretching the budget as far as possible, and we ask that our community now step up and give some assistance through the levy passage on Nov. 7. This won’t fix the funding issue, but it will allow us to continue to provide the excellent level of education and preparation for the future to our students that we have up to this point.”
Michael J. Wiener
Wiener and his wife, Judy, have lived in Delaware for 15 years. His children attend Schultz Elementary School. He has been practicing law since 2001 and has spent the past 15 years as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Crawford County.
Wiener served as a member of the 2016 Delaware City School levy committee and is a member of the current committee promoting the levy that is on the Nov. 7 ballot. He said he is running for school board because of his strong sense of civic responsibility.
“For more than two years now I have regularly attended school board meetings, and have educated myself about the operations and needs of the school district,” Wiener said. “Electing me as a member of the Delaware City School District Board of Education will allow me to put my background, training, and experience to work for our schools as we continue to provide and further grow the excellent education that we have come to expect from our schools.”
Wiener said the “single greatest challenge” facing Delaware City Schools in the coming years is the increased student enrollment combined with budgetary constraints. He said the solution to this challenge is two-fold.
“First, at the local level, the community must continue to support the school district,” Wiener. “In order for the school district to continue to provide the current excellent level of education for our students, this fall, there is an emergency operating levy on the ballot, I fully support the emergency operating levy, and the community must too. Second, at the state level, the legislators must review and modify the educational funding formula. The formula, coupled with the caps, does not adequately take into consideration the excellent Ohio schools where student enrollment is actually increasing. I support efforts by the Central Ohio Superintendents Association, parents, school boards, and others, in engaging the legislators in an attempt to review and modify the educational funding formula so that it is fairly and uniformly applied across the state.”