The slate of six candidates running for three Beavereek School Board seats includes a former district superintendent, a former teacher, a civilian Air Force worker, an engineer, a building contractor and a home business owner.
In the Dayton Daily News voters guide, candidates were asked about the district’s previous unsuccessful attempts to get an operating levy passed; whether they supported the proposed operating levy on the November ballot; and what pressing problem did they see in the district’s future. Alisha Hutson, a research engineer, failed to respond, despite several attempts to contact her.
The candidates all pointed to the economy and communication as the reasons voters have defeated four operating levies in the past 2 1/2 years.
“Finances are tight for everyone right now, and folks want to feel confident that these funds are truly needed by the district,” said Krista Hunt, who volunteers for the district and runs a cake business out of her home.
“First and foremost is the need for improved communication from the schools to the voters. Voters need to see the value of the school system on a personal level,” said Gene Taylor, the building contractor and a former West Carrollton and Beavercreek teacher.
“The levy has not passed because we are still coming out of an extraordinary economic downturn that has affected most families in the country,” said Peg Arnold, the incumbent who has served 12 years on the board and is an Air Force civilian employee.
Hunt, Taylor, Arnold and former superintendent Denny Morrison all support the proposed levy on the Nov. 5 ballot.
“I look at passing levies as my legacy to the future,” said Morrison, who was the Beavercreek superintendent for 11 years and is currently an administrator in the neighboring Fairborn district. “The only way that we can continue to have a strong, vibrant, and growing community is to have an excellent school district.”
JoAnn Rigano, who retired as a district teacher after 24 years at the end of the 2012-2013 school year, said she had reservations. “I support the need for a levy, but there is not enough information available to me to know that the amount of the levy is correct.”
Morrison sees the district’s levy struggles in terms of communication.
“Everywhere I go residents tell me that they just do not know what is going on in our schools,” he said. His solution: “The board and administration need to be servant leaders and make themselves available to respond to the questions of the residents.”
Taylor sees finances as a the district’s long-term problem. He said that as a small businessman he has the tools to make financial adjustments. “School funding is a different creature altogether. School budgets are like living on a fixed income that is often under pressure and reduced by powers outside its control.”
Hunt also worries about future finances. “”As a board member I would work with the other board members to continue a conservative approach to spending within the budget.”
Arnold said reaching out to the majority of the community who do not have children in the district schools is the key to the future. “The district needs to find a way to convince the residents that even when you don’t have children attending Beavercreek Schools, we are still all connected together by our joint interests in the community and its property values.”
Rigano said the district needs a long-term financial plan and an effective way to communicate it, pointing to the four previous levy failures.
“It is necessary that there be a concentrated effort to show the public the savings which have already been implemented and the need to raise revenues through a levy,” she said. “The amount of the levy should be determined as a result of long-term planning.”
Hutson, a mother of three children in the district schools, on her campaign website questioned whether higher property taxes were needed. “Let’s make sure our school leaders review ALL available solutions before asking for more money from the community.”
The candidates for Beavercreek School Board answered questions about the levy and the district’s challenges. Read their responses and learn about candidates and issues from across the region in our interactive voters guide at vote.daytondailynews.com