Three newcomers for the Toledo Board of Education appeared to edge out the only incumbent on the ballot yesterday, but did not yet claim victory early this morning in the heated and crowded race.
With results still trickling into the Lucas County board of elections near midnight, the newcomer candidates were cautious but optimistic.
Darlene Fisher and Robert Torres - two of the candidates that campaigned under the "3 for change" slogan - were leading the votes.
Steven Steel, a former Waite High School teacher, was also in the top three early today - which would give him a seat on the school board and knock out incumbent Steven Thomas.
Seven candidates - including one write-in - were vying for three seats. Another incumbent, Peter Silverman, did not seek re-election.
The third candidate running under the "3 for change" slogan, was Christopher Myers, the only ballot-listed Republican.
Throughout their campaigns, the "3 for change" candidates called for an overhaul of the school system.
Ms. Fisher, 44, of Elsie Ave., said the first thing that needs to be done is to "regain the public trust and invite the community in."
Mr. Torres, 42, of Arlington Avenue, said the early vote totals indicate that the public is eager for reform within the 31,000-student school district.
"I think what the voters were looking for is an opportunity for real change," he said. "I think folks really want a change in policy and we represent changing the status quo."
Mr. Thomas, 37, of 1935 Wellesley Dr., trailed in the votes early this morning. Mr. Steel, 43, of Parkwood Avenue, said he wants to examine the district's budget before commenting on any possible future cutbacks or whether the school board will ask voters to approve a new operating levy.
TPS is projecting a $19 million deficit next year and administrators have said layoffs and other cuts are likely.
Mr. Steel's wife, Catherine Hernandez, sits on the board of directors for the Toledo Federation of Teachers, the school district's teachers union.
Mr. Steel said his wife agreed to resign from the position upon his election.
Challenger Jim Whiteman, 63, of 2835 Middlesex Drive, was trailing all the other candidates early this morning.
Toledo Board of Education members Mr. Silverman and David Welch did not seek re-election.
In the race for the Washington Local Board of Education, where four candidates were vying for three seats, two incumbents and one challenger were leading with votes early this morning.
Board president Steve Zuber, member John A. Adler, and challenger Frank Erme were all ahead of Incumbent Thomas Ilstrup.
Mr. Erme, 77, of 3460 Cameron Lane, was previously on the Washington Local School Board for more than eight years.
Mr. Ilstrup, who was appointed to school board last year, was in last place with about 28 percent of precincts reporting.