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Washington Local school board chooses ex-member to fill vacancy

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Tom Ilstrup was one of 10 applicants for the vacancy. He was named to the board in 2004 but lost his bid for re-election in 2005.

The Blade/Herral Long
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A former Washington Local Board of Education member was sworn in yesterday to fill a board vacancy created after Lisa Canales' election failed to get certification.

Tom Ilstrup, 46, who was previously appointed to the board in 2004 but lost his bid for reelection in November, 2005, was one of 10 applicants the board interviewed this week to fill the vacancy.

Mr. Ilstrup ran unsuccessfully for a board seat in the November election.

The board vacancy was created after the Lucas County Board of Elections refused to certify the November election of Ms. Canales because of problems with her amended 2005 campaign finance report. She was elected by voters to her third four-year term.

Ms. Canales' candidacy was challenged during the campaign by Ronald Levi, who claimed she had missed two filing deadlines last year that reported campaign finances from her 2005 run for Toledo City Council's District 6 seat.

Ms. Canales was allowed on the ballot, but legally she had to correct the situation to join the school board.

She and David Hunter were re-elected to the school board in the November election. Mr. Ilstrup received the next highest number of votes, and Mr. Levi finished last.

Last month, Lucas County Elections Director Jill Kelly said an amended 2005 report from Ms. Canales had more mistakes than what was filed previously.

On Jan. 18 the school board declared Ms. Canales' seat vacant and sought applications, which were due the first of the month.

The board interviewed the following candidates this week: Angela Dotson, Don Earls, Rodney Henning, Mark Hughes, Annette Hyttenhove, Mr. Ilstrup, Mr. Levi, Walt Metzger, Stephen Perrine, and George Plasencio.

The board voted to appoint Mr. Ilstrup Thursday night after his interview, the last of the 10.

Board President Frank Erme said the board didn't factor Mr. Ilstrup's votes in the most recent election into its decision as much as his experience and community involvement.

"I'm sure he will be a candidate that will be for the students in Washington Local in all phases," Mr. Erme said. "I'm sure he'll do a beautiful job."

All school board members said they were pleased with the number of qualified candidates interested in joining the board.

Mr. Ilstrup will serve two years and be eligible to run for the remaining two years in the 2009 general election.

Mr. Ilstrup said his main goal as a board member will be to encourage parent participation.

"I believe parents need to be in the schools," he said. "Parental involvement is the biggest indicator of success."

Mr. Ilstrup is the father of three current Washington Local students and one graduate of the district.

Contact Meghan Gilbert at: mgilbert@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.

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