EAST LIVERPOOL - Two incumbents are being challenged by a political newcomer for one of their two seats in the Nov. 5 election.
Larry H. Walton and Richard K. Wolf are seeking re-election, while Brian Allen hopes to unseat one of the two.
Each candidate was asked the same questions: Why they are seeking the office, how they would try to change or improve the community (school district) and what they see as the biggest issue facing the district during the election and how they would deal with it.
Larry H. Walton
Larry H. Walton
Walton said he is seeking re-election to his third term with the belief his years of experience will help him continue to make major contributions to the school system's effective operation.
Walton noted he is proud to have been named a 2012 Master Board Member by the Ohio School Boards Association, one of seven statewide, saying he was the first member of the city school board to receive the designation since Charles Thomas in the 1950s. Thomas, Walton noted, later became state president of the OSBA.
According to Walton, one of the biggest challenges facing public school boards is the continuing involvement of legislators in the education process, particularly the myriad of laws and procedural changes coming from the state.
"Schools need some breathing time. As we stand, many of the changes we get from the state are almost impossible to accomplish in the short period of time given," Walton said.
Keeping up with changes in technology, practices and new teaching techniques keep education "constantly in flux," Walton said, adding, "It takes much time and dedication to stay abreast of the changes and keep the other board members informed."
Walton said anyone running for any school board must remember that, "alone, you cannot accomplish anything."
He concluded, "I will continue, if elected, to quietly work with my fellow board members to accomplish the many things we must do to see that we give our students the best education possible, keeping in mind that their education should contain three elements: academics, arts and athletics."
Richard K. Wolf
A 32-year school board member, Wolf said he is seeking re-election because "I have demonstrated a sincere, dedicated interest by providing quality educational opportunity for all students."
Wolf offered a two-pronged plan for improving the district, including moving from paper to cyber learning as financing becomes available and emphasizing citizenship in a participatory community.
A lack of parental involvement in children's education is the biggest issue facing the district, according to Wolf, who said he would address the issue by requiring parents to sign homework and tests and to participate fully in all parent/teacher conferences.
With no prior experience as a board member, Allen said he felt he had no choice but to seek a board seat.
"Since returning to the area, I have seen nothing positive with the board of education. I want to bring a new cooperative attitude to the board. If we are going to fix East Liverpool, it has to start with our youth," he said.
If elected, Allen said he would get more involved with the parents, developing focus groups to solve problems and move forward, saying, "Accountability is a priority."
Allen sees as the biggest issue facing the district a lack of accountability, wasteful spending and lack of technology. He did not address how he would deal with those issues.