School board candidates make case in Rossford

Sue Gluckin, left, and Tiffany Densic are challenging two incumbents for the Rossford school board.
Sue Gluckin, left, and Tiffany Densic are challenging two incumbents for the Rossford school board.

As if a request for voters to approve new funds for an ambitious facilities upgrade weren't enough, Rossford's Nov. 5 ballot also includes highly competitive school board races, with five candidates vying for two board seats.

Voters will hear from the hopefuls Wednesday at a candidates night for board races, to be held from 6 to 9:30 p.m. in the high school cafeteria.

Incumbents Dawn Burks, the board president, and Doug Miller, are challenged by Tiffany Densic, Susan Gluckin, and Jackie Huffman.

Rossford is among many communities in the area with school board races, with some others including Toledo, Washington Local, Oregon, Northwood, Lake, Ottawa Hills, Maumee, Sylvania, Perrysburg, and Genoa.

Ms. Densic and Ms. Gluckin have campaigned door-to-door in Rossford on the issue of school district spending, which they consider excessive given Rossford's shrinking tax base and Rossford teachers’status as Wood County's highest paid. Both women are members of the school district's finance committee.

“We can’t keep spending more than we’re taking in,” Ms. Densic said. “And the community can't afford new taxes.”

Ms. Gluckin said much the same: “The biggest issue for me is finances. In two years, we’ll be out of money. I hear that we should support the schools, but I really can’t afford to pay more taxes.”

The district’s proposed budget for this year’s operations anticipates spending about the same as last year’s, but continues a three-year trend of deficit spending by drawing down dwindling cash reserves.

Absent cost-cutting, new revenues, or both, the school system is projected to be in deficit by more than $600,000 by the end of the 2014-15 school year, with the situation growing progressively worse thereafter.

A new teachers’ contract raises net costs over three years and gives teachers raises and longevity increases. Ms. Burks and Mr. Miller voted for the contract. District officials maintain the labor agreement is fair and prudent and are considering asking for new operating money next year.

Ms. Huffman, for her part, has no criticism of the district’s financial management, saying she was “campaigning with a positive attitude toward the future.”

The Nov. 5 tax request in Rossford would pay for the first phase of a $76 million reconstruction and renovation project. Voters will consider adoption of a 37-year, 4.6-mill bond issue that would raise $32.2 million for the construction of two buildings to replace Indian Hills and Eagle Point elementary schools.

In the Oregon schools, five candidates seek seats held by incumbents Mike Csehi and Carol-Ann Molnar and a seat being vacated by Diana Gadus.

The challengers are William Carstensen, Heather Miller, and Jim Stewart.

In the Northwood district, incumbents Jefferey Dunlap, Fritz Kalmbach, and Amy Romstadt are unopposed, as are Brad Delventhal, Tim Krugh, and Monica Leppelmeier in the Lake schools and Roger Bostdorff, Denis Helm, and Sherri Sheffler in the Eastwood schools.

In the Genoa district, incumbent James Brossia and challengers Christopher Goetz and Kimberly Traver run to fill three seats, and in the Woodmore district, Grant Cumminings, an incumbent, along with Joseph Liszak and Sean Rizor, compete for two seats.

Contact Carl Ryan at: carlryan@theblade.com or 419-724-6095.