Six candidates are competing for a spot on the five-member Sylvania School District Board of Education. Three seats are up for grabs in the nonpartisan race, including one held by John Crandall, who is running for Sylvania Township trustee, and seats held by Julie Hoffman and Dave Spiess.
Here is a look at the candidates:
Stephen Rothschild: Mr. Rothschild, 50, a lawyer, has experience managing multimillion dollar budgets. He consulted on the Sylvania Athletic Foundation’s gift-acceptance policy. The Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo is among several organizations he is involved in.
A parent, he said he wants to give back to a system that has provided so much for his family. He said his ability to communicate effectively is critical because it is needed for adequate funding and justifying it to legislators and voters, who are the ones to decide the revenue for public education. “Board members are the interface between the public and the legislator,” he said.
Carol McElfresh: A former Sylvania school treasurer, Mrs. McElfresh, 58, worked for the Toledo Public Schools for 23 years, where she held the position of director of payroll. She is the executive director of the BeInstrumental Foundation.
She said she cares about the “educational opportunities and success of our children.” As treasurer, she stretched tax dollars without returning to voters for additional operating funds, Mrs. McElfresh said. Her financial expertise will assist in monitoring the continually changing state funding model, “so they can get most from state they are entitled to.”
Kevin Eff: Mr. Eff, 32, a lawyer, said he is running for his two toddler sons and the children of Sylvania, who deserve a quality system of education.
In regard to the decreases in state funding, he proposed implementing a homestead exemption program that would give a percentage off a levy millage to qualifying senior residents. He believes the program may make elderly residents more inclined to approve a levy. His priorities are school safety, maintaining educational excellence, and managing an ethical and lawful administration.
Dave Spiess: Mr. Spiess, 58, a board member since 2002, is also member of the Sylvania Area Joint Recreation District, and the Sylvania Recreation Corporation.
He said his wisdom and experience gained from the recent “budget battles,” while maintaining the districts level of excellence. One of his concerns is the eroding dollars the state has taken from public schools for the expanding voucher program. He said it will take a collective effort that includes the school and community, to “say to Columbus enough is enough.” He said he is committed to making the schools safe and providing children the tools to succeed in a technology-based world.
Julie Hoffman: Mrs. Hoffman, 45, vice president of the drug-prevention organization Sylvania Community Action Team, has been a school board member since 2010.
She and members worked as a team through challenges and budget cuts, she said. She said her background in law assisted in working with state legislators through budget changes. “I am an effective communicator, and accessible to the public, and I try to address resident concerns,” she said. She said she is prepared to maintain the district's excellence while doing more with less.
Mark Clark: Mr. Clark, 55, a commercial Realtor, is involved in the Zenobia Shriners of Northwest Ohio. His three children are district graduates, and he said he wants to maintain its high level of education.
He said his priorities are providing the best atmosphere for staff so they can prepare children for adult life. He said he believes the success of the district depends on balancing the interests of taxpayers, parents, and educators, and he advocates for a responsible, transparent board.