Perrysburg school bd. open seat in demand
Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer
Saturday, 04 January 2014 08:21
PERRYSBURG - School board seats continue to be a hot commodity, as five people have sought a vacancy to be decided this month.
Seeking a spot on the board are Valerie Hovland, Jason Decker, Eric Benington, William J. Davis III and Ken Widdel.
Hovland is an outgoing member of the board who wishes to stay on after not winning re-election in November. Decker was one of five challengers for three school board positions in that election. Gretchen Downs was retained, earning the most votes of any candidate.
The opening was created when Barry Van Hoozen won a seat on city council in the November election and resigned his school board post Dec. 24. Incoming school board members Cal Smith and Sue Larimer will be among those to choose Van Hoozen's successor after being elected to replace Hovland and Mark Schoenlein.
Hovland was the highest vote-getter to not win a seat in the election, garnering 2,110 votes, compared to Larimer, 2,347 votes, and Smith, 2,254 votes. Decker tallied 1,621 votes.
Van Hoozen's unexpired term runs through the end of 2015.
The board will begin considering applicants at a 5:30 p.m. meeting Thursday. Candidates were asked to submit letters of interest, which they used to outline why they should be selected.
Superintendent Tom Hosler said a question posed to the Ohio School Board Association on whether interviews should be conducted in open session or executive session would likely not be answered until Monday. He said he expects the board to vote on a new member Thursday. An organizational meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Jan. 13.
Hosler said he was impressed with those interested in the position.
"On paper, they're all qualified candidates," he said. "I think the board will have a tough decision ahead of them."
Hovland, an eight-year board member, was board president in 2008 and is an attorney with Allotta Farley LPA, Toledo. She touted as strengths her recent acquisition of a master's degree in education and past involvement with the Perrysburg community and its schools.
"I played important roles on levy committees, booster groups and volunteer organizations that are unique to Perrysburg Schools. Furthermore, my volunteerism in the community has been focused on the advancement of our district's youth and family development," Hovland wrote in her application.
Decker, who is director of accounting and reporting at Therma-Tru in Maumee, indicated in his own application that his resolve hasn't diminished since losing the election.
"I still have a desire to do my part by sitting on the board. With two kids currently in the school system I have a vested interest in seeing that the schools continue to be run well," he wrote.
Benington, vice president and assistant controller of Health Care REIT, Toledo, was involved with the levy campaign for Perrysburg's public transit system last year and treasurer for the school district's operational levy campaign in 2012. He is also a member of the school strategic facilities committee.
"As a parent of two children currently enrolled in the district, I am vested in the performance of our schools and have a strong belief that my skills and experiences, in partnership with other board members, can continue our school district's history of success in the face of several upcoming challenges," he wrote.
In advocating for his own selection to the post, Davis, a financial adviser, wrote that he believes residents want something different in a school board delegate.
"In reviewing the results of the November elections and some of my own discussions with fellow citizens and parents, I feel there is a desire for new representation on the Perrysburg Schools Board of Education. The current long standing members of the board bring consistency and experience, however, I feel the balance of new representation and a new skill set that I will bring to the board makes me a viable candidate to serve our schools and our community."
Widdel is vice president of the athletic boosters, a former board member and owner of Creative Financial Partners in Perrysburg. He did not indicate in his application why he would like to be appointed to the board.