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Two ousted from Perrysburg BOE PDF Print E-mail
Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer   
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 01:05
PERRYSBURG — Two long-time school board members were ousted by challengers, while another retained her seat by capturing the largest share of the election.
Gretchen Downs, currently president of the board, will keep her seat after earning 2660 votes, equivalent to 17.8 percent of the vote. Candidates Cal Smith and Sue Larimer will replace 12-year members Mark Schoenlein and Valerie Hovland.
Another seat will soon open, as board member Barry VanHoozen was elected to city council.
Other totals in the race were: Larimer, 2,332 votes, 15.6 percent; Smith, 2,238 votes, 15 percent; Hovland, 2,095 votes, 14 percent;  Schoenlein, 2,046 votes, 13.7 percent; Lara Martin Lengel, 1,993 votes, 13.3 percent; and Jason Decker, 1,610 votes, 10.8 percent.
Smith and Larimer campaigned on being more conservative with tax dollars and looking for opportunities for savings. Larimer said those opinions were apparently shared by residents at the polls.
“I think the voters are trying to say something, that they want a more conservative approach,” she said.
“I think what they’re asking for ... is that they do want to perform an audit, and they do want to verify that money being spent in the school district is proper and honest.”
Smith conceded that while it was a close election, voters evidently wanted something different.
“I guess it’s kind of means they wanted a change,” he said.
Smith said school crowding is the most important issue before the district, and he thinks the board needs to waste no time in addressing it.
“I really think the kids deserve to get this overcrowding issue dealt with quickly.”
He added that an audit of the district could help make the case to voters for a bond to finance a new building.
While Downs earned re-election herself, she said she was dismayed that Shoenlein and Hovland won’t continue on the board.
“When your colleagues who have worked very hard in support of the district lose, it is always a disappointment.”
Downs said she expects Smith and Larimer to quickly learn that school finances look much different when viewed from the inside. Perrysburg’s per-student spending is still low, as are taxes compared to other districts, she said.
“I think when Sue Larimer and Cal Smith actually have a chance to get in and look at the budgets and see where we are, I think they will soften in their positions about this wasteful spending. Because there is no wasteful spending.
“I think it’s really easy from the outside looking in to say, ‘I could save lots of money, put me on the board.’”

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