Four candidates are vying for two open seats on the Buckeye Valley Board of Education in the Nov. 3 election.
The candidates include one incumbent board members, a former levy campaign chairman, a longtime teacher and a member of the team that helped craft a bond issue for the Buckeye Valley School District that will also be on the Nov. 3 ballot.
Board President Tom Kaelber is not running for re-election.
The candidates are:
J.R. Roden — Roden is the lone incumbent in the race. He has been a resident of the district for 27 years and is a salesman of large networking solutions for Verizon Wireless. He has a bachelor’s degree in computer science and math.
The first-term school board member said he decided to run for re-election to complete the work he started.
“I think we’ve made some great progress over the last four years and I think we have a few more big issues to take on,” he said. “I try to listen to the board members and the public. We’re really there to represent their opinion.”
His top goal, he said, is to address the district’s aging elementary facilities, which the bond issue seeks to address.
“Buckeye Valley is blessed with great families, great kids and great teachers, great administrators,” he said. “It’ll be great to get the facilities that match.”
If he is re-elected, Roden said another goal is continue to manage the school system in a fiscally responsible way.
“My goal has always been to get the best education possible at the least possible price,” he said. “We’ve got our finances under control and our budget looks positive for the next couple of years.”
Amy Dutt — Dutt has been a resident of the district since 1998. She served as an engineering manager at Honda for 16 years, and she has a degree in chemical engineering from Ohio State University.
A member of the facilities advisory team that helped craft the bond issue on the Nov. 3 ballot, she said she wants to be on the school board to help oversee the project.
“If this elementary facilities issue passes I would like to help see that through to fruition,” she said.
Dutt also plans to carefully manage the district’s finances, if elected.
“I’m a stickler for details, especially financial details,” she said. “I study the finances in detail, and I think really communicating the finances and waste reduction to the taxpayers is going to be important.”
Her top goal, she said, is to provide all the district’s students with the best education possible.
“I’m really doing this for the kids and the taxpayers,” she said. “I’m not really in this for any personal gain. I just want to continue my service and see the classroom experience improve.”
Randy Turner — After a 33-year teaching career – 26 of which were spent at Delaware Hayes High School – Randy Turner hopes to lend his educational experiences to the school board.
“My experience as an educator gives me an advantage on what to expect as far as what’s happening in the classroom,” he said.
Turner, who is supporting the district’s bond issue, said he was encouraged by the way in which the community came together to compromise on the issue, and he hopes to continue the community involvement, if elected.
“The biggest thing is trying to get everybody on the same page,” he said.
Turner also believes his teaching experience would prove to be an asset in collective bargaining negotiations with the district’s teachers union and classified staff.
“My experience as a negotiator gives me an idea of what’s happening on both sides,” he said.
Turner said his main focus will be the district’s students.
“I have no agenda beyond doing the best I can to help our students get a good education,” he said.
Jeff White — White, who unsuccessfully ran for a board seat in the past and led a failed bond issue campaign, has lived in the district for 20 years. He has worked in the electrical power generation industry for nearly four decades and has a master’s degree in nuclear engineering.
He said he decided to run because change is needed.
“People asked me if I would run for school board because they are disappointed with the five board members’ behavior, such as limiting public participation time in the board meetings and moving forward with the 2014 school renovation bond issue without seeking community input,” he said.
One of White’s top goals is to oversee the construction of two new elementary facilities if the bond issue is passed in November.
“Building two schools for $32 million is a challenging project and it requires attention to detail so that we get two schools of equal quality for our money,” he said. “With my background in engineering and construction management, I can lead the board and community through this process to a successful conclusion.”
White also said that, if elected, he will be planning to expand programming for students in a fiscally responsible way; to work with state legislators to bring more state funding to the district; and to work to improve conditions at the middle school and high school through a facilities maintenance plan.
“I will represent the entire Buckeye Valley district to improve our students’ performance,” he said. “I will serve ethically and honestly, with truth and common sense to lead our district.”
Dustin Ensinger can be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @EnsingerDG.