Friday, Apr 20, 2018
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10 enter race for 3 seats on Toledo school board

Nov. 5 ballot will have much local competition

There should be healthy competition for the Toledo Board of Education seats up for election.

Wednesday was the deadline to file for nonpartisan races and local issues on the Nov. 5 ballot.

By the 4 p.m. cutoff, 10 prospective candidates had filed for three open school board seats.

That sort of competition compares starkly with Toledo’s last school board election, when two candidates ran for two seats.

Incumbent Lisa Sobecki and retired city school administrator Cecelia Adams were elected in 2011 simply because they ran.

Now there’s a race, especially because only one incumbent — former board president Bob Vasquez — is running.

Board member Larry Sykes has opted to run for city council instead, while board president Brenda Hill has cited health reasons for her decision not to run.

Most candidates still must be certified by the Lucas County Board of Elections, which meets Aug. 15, so the field isn’t set.

But those who filed are:

● Perry Lefevre, a Sylvania Northview teacher and president of Sylvania’s teachers’ union.

● Aji Green, who unsuccessfully ran for city council in 2011 and school board in 2009.

● Arthur Henry IV, who has been a member of the Lucas County Republican Central Committee and the watchdog Urban Coalition.

● Maynard Porter, a Waite High School graduate and dockworker at FedEx Freight, who coached freshmen football at Waite and has been a longtime basketball official in Ohio.

● Chris Varwig, a former Parent Congress president who long has been involved in TPS, especially in organizing parent events and Bowsher community work.

● Polly Taylor-Gerken, who was employed for 30 years in the district and is married to Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken.

● The Rev. Randall Parker III, pastor of the Manifested Word Church on Islington Street.

● Darryl Fingers, who ran unsuccessfully as a Republican in 2011 for the District 1 city council seat.

● Tina Henold, a conservative activist who home-schooled her children and was among community members who pushed for a performance audit of TPS. She has been certified by the Board of Elections.

The Nov. 5 election is particularly important for TPS. Not only are three board seats up, but the district will have its 6.5-mill operating levy before voters for a five-year renewal.

Only Toledo city school district residents will vote on that levy, but all Lucas County voters can have a say on two other levies.

Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities will ask to roll two continuing levies of 0.3 and 0.5 mills into one and add 1 mill in a replacement levy totaling 1.8 mills.

The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority board will ask to renew the agency’s 0.4-mill levy for five years.

Many Lucas County communities and school districts seek levies.

In Sylvania, three incumbent city council members and Mayor Craig Stough all are unopposed.

But six candidates — including two incumbents — have filed to run for three Sylvania school board seats. They are incumbents David Spiess and Julie Hoffman and challengers Mark Clark, Carol McElfresh, Kevin Eff, and Stephen Rothschild.

In Sylvania Township, five people are running for two trustee seats. Incumbents Kevin Haddad and John Jennewine are challenged by John Crandall, Penny Levine, and Donald R. Miller.

In Perrysburg, two people filed to run for mayor, five for three city council seats, seven for three school board spots, and two for municipal judge. Three candidates are gunning for two Perrysburg Township trustee seats.

Laura Hummer and Mike Olmstead aim to succeed Nelson Evans as Perrysburg mayor. The four-year term pays $28,000 in 2014.

Ms. Hummer is the wife of Lake Township Police Chief Mark Hummer and a nurse at St. Luke’s Hospital in Maumee. Mr. Olmstead has been on city council since 2005 and owns a business in Perrysburg.

Perrysburg council incumbents Sara Weisenburger and Joe Lawless are challenged by Richard Rettig, Barry VanHoozen, and James Matuszak in a race for three seats.

Running for three Perrysburg school board seats are incumbents Gretchen Downs, Mark Schoenlein, and Valerie Hovland and challengers Jason Decker, Sue Larimer, Lara Lengel, and Cal Smith.

Perrysburg Township trustee candidates — running for two seats — are incumbents Gary Britten and Bob Mack and challenger Lynn Hunter.

Across northwest Ohio, voters will elect representatives to village and city councils and school boards as well as township trustees and municipal court judges.

Among ballot referenda, Rossford schools will seek a 4.6-mill, 37-year bond issue intended to raise $32.2 million to build new schools at the sites of Eagle Point and Indian Hills elementaries.

Northwood Local Schools will ask voters to approve a continuing, 0.25-percent income tax and 4.9-mill bond issue that together would raise the local share of construction costs for a new school for pre-kindergarten through grade 12. The Ohio School Facilities Commission would contribute $11.5 million toward the total $33 million project.

Wood County voters will consider an additional 2.95-mill, five-year levy to support the Board of Developmental Disabilities, which operates Wood Lane school and industries. The ballot in Fulton, Defiance, Henry, and Williams counties will include a 0.7-mill, five-year levy for the Four County Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services.

Sandusky County voters will have two countywide issues to decide: renewal of a 0.5-mill, five-year levy for the county health district, and a 0.8-mill, five year levy for the county Mental Health and Recovery Services Board that has been defeated repeatedly, most recently in May.

Gibsonburg schools have a five-year, 0.75 percent earned income tax on the ballot, while Napoleon city schools are seeking an additional 2.9-mill, five-year levy to help pay for current operating expenses.

Blade Staff Writers Nolan Rosenkrans, Jennifer Feehan, Matt Thompson, and Natalie Trusso Cafarello contributed to this report.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: or 419-724-6086, or on Twitter @NolanRosenkrans.

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