Voters will have the opportunity to choose two school board candidates out of a field of three on Nov. 5.
The candidates for the two school board seats, with terms beginning Jan. 1, include incumbents Matthew Cellura and Mark Curtis, and challenger Adrienne Gordon.
Gordon said the biggest challenge facing the schools "is really just keeping it up with the pace of change in society."
"We are being outpaced by the neighboring districts around us," Gordon said. "We can come up with a million reasons on why they're performing at higher levels than us, but at the end of the day that's eventually going to become an issue. From a global standpoint, I personally think that there's a significant risk for an economic downturn in the next four years. I do think that we're gonna be looking at a recession. The Ohio Department of Education continually is giving changing expectations and litany of changes and the demands, and we have a lot of room to improve on our ability to keep up with that pace."
Funding is one of the biggest challenges facing the schools, Cellura said, with the loss of the Tangible Personal Property tax plus unfunded mandates, coupled with "an unfair funding formula."
"Another problem that the district faces are our buildings," Cellura said. "Our assessments include possible new buildings and the demolition of old buildings. Again, these are plans that we've been working on for two or three years, engaging the community and rolling out. We will not do anything without the support of the community, and that's why it's a long process. That's why we're doing these things, assuring that the success of our children first."
Curtis said there were "multiple challenges" facing the schools.
"I would agree with my colleague in that one of the biggest challenges is basically that the current system of funding that we're operating on has been ruled unconstitutional multiple times by the Ohio Supreme Court. Believe it or not, that ruling was made was 20 years ago."
Curtis also added that the state's accountability system "is also broken," with "too much emphasis on standardized tests as a means of measuring student achievement, which drives instruction."
The general election is Nov. 5. Polls are open between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. However, the Summit County Board of Elections office will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Nov. 1, as well as from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 4, for voters to cast their ballots early.
For elections information, visit https://www.summitcountyboe.com online.
Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @AprilKHelms_RPC