Four vacancies for school board
SUMMIT COUNTY – School board member Garrett Sullivan hopes there will be at least eight school board candidates on November’s ballot.
That way, the people elected to the board would have to beat 50 percent of the field, he said.
Four school board members’ terms expire this November – Board President Bill Pelham and members Jay Brunvand, Pat Keehley and Stuart Adams. Only two are running again.
Brunvand, who was elected to a four-year term in 1999, and Adams, who was appointed to the board in January, said they plan to put their names in the hat again.
Pelham has served on the board for eight years and will not be able to run again, due to state-imposed term limits. Keehley, who was appointed in November, said she likely will not run this year because she will be out of the county often for family obligations.
“But I certainly wouldn’t rule it out next year,” Keehley said.
The board is looking for interested residents to add their names to the list of candidates for November’s ballot. If there aren’t more candidates than there are vacancies, voters won’t have the opportunity to choose who they feel is best for the job, Sullivan said.
“I know there are just a lot of good, dedicated volunteers in the county,” Keehley said. “I just wish that some of them would redirect their efforts to the school district.”
An ideal candidate is somebody who is genuinely interested in kids and education, Pelham said, not someone with a personal agenda.
“If that’s their motivation, I don’t think it’s necessarily in the best interest of kids,” he said.
But it’s not necessary to have a child in the school system, Keehley said.
“Most of the voters in Summit County, I think, don’t have children in school,” she said, “but I think they still could make a very valuable contribution to the school district by running.”
Pelham became involved with the school board in an effort to give back to the community.
“I think everybody ought to do something for their fellow man and community,” Pelham said. “I really felt I had something to offer that was in the best interest of kids and that I could do something to contribute to (their) education.”
Brunvand and Adams said their motivations were similar.
“I was raised knowing that you need to put back in when you take out,” said Brunvand, who has graduated from and worked for the Summit School District himself and whose children are currently students in the district.
“It’s kind of a matter of public service or commitment,” Adams agreed.
It’s no small commitment, though. Those elected to the vacant seats will serve a four-year term. School board typically meets twice a month – sometimes more. And the time commitment may be part of the reason some hesitate to run for election, board members said.
“It’s a very serious commitment,” Pelham said. “These kids are our future, and we owe them the very best that we can (give them).”
But along with the commitment come the rewards – though what the awards are differs among board members.
Pelham said he is probably most satisfied by his participation in increasing the rigor of education in Summit schools. Brunvand said he likes that he’s helping the district remain accountable to the taxpayers. And Adams finds reward in helping the district provide its students an excellent education.
“There’s no short-term thrill out of it, and the pay is awful,” Adams chuckled. “So the pleasure is working the process, watching the process, seeing improvements made.”
“It certainly does take some time, but the benefits and rewards exceed that,” Keehley said. “As any volunteer in the community, I feel like I’m contributing to a broader aspect of living in Summit County.”
Those interested in running for the board can pick up nomination petitions beginning today at the district’s central administration offices at 0150 Summit County Road No. 1030 (across from Summit Middle School). Potential candidates have until 4 p.m. Aug. 29 to turn in their petitions with the signatures of 50 Summit County residents.
For more information, call central administration at (970) 668-3011.
Lu Snyder can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or email@example.com.
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