Communication and funding hot topics for Field Local school board candidates

Pam Crimbchin

Candidates for the Field Local School District school board agree that the biggest issues in the district are communication and finance. However, each of the five candidates has their own ideas about what is needed to improve the current situation. Three will be elected this Tuesday.

Allyson Westover

Field Local school board candidate

Westover received a bachelor’s degree from The University of Akron in criminal justice and political science and a master’s degree from Kent State in education and school counseling.

She has lived her whole life in the Field Local School District and worked for the district as a substitute teacher and special education assistant for four and a half years. Westover currently works at Copley-Fairlawn Middle School as the school safety specialist.

Westover’s main focus is to increase communication between parents, teachers and administration.

“We all want to focus on what’s best for our students,” she said, “and that should be the No. 1 goal between parents, students, administrations and school board.”

She also wants to come to an agreement on the teacher’s contracts and initiate some new courses.

“I’m concerned because we lose a lot of students to other districts in the middle and high school bracket,” Westover said. “. I’d like to see our district take a poll of the citizens of Suffield and Brimfield as to what they would like to see in their middle school and high school.”

Westover is running because she believes “if you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem,” and wants to help the district as a concerned citizen and mother of two children in the school system.

Terry Kettering

Field Local school board candidate

Kettering graduated from Hoban High School and attended Malone University and Stark State College of Technology.

Kettering is retired from the Cuyahoga County Department of Human Services and has been volunteering at Brimfield Elementary for about ten years.

“By volunteering I know a lot of what is going on here, which is why I wanted to run,” Kettering said.

His main focus is the need for financial stability in the school district. Kettering said whatever money the school gets now should be earmarked for permanent improvements, salaries and reserve.

“It’s not going to be an overnight fix, but for the future, as long as you keep earmarking that stuff and putting them in those funds, we should be OK,” Kettering said.

Kettering also believes there needs to be better communication between the community and school board.

He said posting board meetings minutes and sending newsletters to the whole community, not just those with children, are some ways to start increasing knowledge of the district.

Kettering said a committee could be formed to work on boosting moral and encourage everyone to look to the future.

“I want to get everybody together to make this a place where people want to work and parents want to send their kids here,” Kettering said.

Donna Karg

Field Local school board candidate

Karg received a bachelor’s degree in education from Akron and worked as a substitute teacher for Field Local Schools.

Karg said she knows some of the teachers and the situations they face.

“I know some of the shortcomings our school system has as far as utensils and activities teachers need, maybe to help them do their job a little better,” Karg said.

Karg’s main objective is to make sure the school district supplies students with the best education.

“The main objective of our school system is to educate children and make sure that we can supply them with the best quality education our money can buy,” Karg said.

Karg would also like to introduce more electives, such as home economics, music and photography, into the high schools.

“I sent (my children) away to a parochial school because I felt that our system lacked some of the electives and so forth in the secondary education field that I would like to see children introduced to,” Karg said.

She also wants to look into decisions made by the board in the past and into other departments to make sure there is no “frivolous spending.”

“I want to make sure my dollars are going where they should be going and that’s to educate the children,” Karg said.

Jeremy Powell

Field Local school board candidate

Powell is the vice president of A-Abra-Cadabra Lock Service and vice president of Sigma Nu Housing Corp.

He is also a licensed foster parent for Ohio and has had foster children go through the Field Local School District.

Powell’s main focus is community outreach from the district.

“I’m going to reach out to the community,” Powell said. “I’m going to start a Field schools twitter account, just like McCain and Obama.”

Powell said he is also concerned with how many students are leaving the school district. He wants to hand deliver a survey if he wins, to find out why they left and what the school district can do to get them back.

He said after talking to some parents, he learned one of the reasons for student leaving is the lack of minority teachers and officials in the school district, which he plans to address.

Powell is also concerned about the track and football field conditions. He wants to make a memorial football stadium without tax dollars by talking to businesses and applying for grants.

“I think if we can get a stadium project and track done without using tax payer dollars, the taxpayers in the district will feel like, ‘Hey they’re really getting stuff done,’ and will be more likely to pass the next operating levy,” Powell said.

Dave Gynn

Field Local school board candidate

Gynn received a bachelor’s degree from Defiance College in business education and his master’s from Kent State.

He retired from teaching 20 years ago and is currently president of the board, but will not return to that position if re-elected to the board.

Gynn’s main focus is funding for the school district.

“Funding for school has always been a problem, but I think for our school it is even more critical than it has ever been before,” Gynn said.

Gynn said he hopes to increase the income and decrease or hold the line on expenses for the district.

He said the only real way to increase income is with another levy, but understands now is not the time to look to taxpayers.

“I think we have to live with what we have for a while until we feel the community is more willing to step up to the plate,” Gynn said.

If re-elected, Gynn said he will continue work on the new Convergence School. He said the Convergence School will help with improvements to the schools indirectly, by purchasing items that could be used for both schools, such as a school bus.

“It’s our hope that while it won’t directly benefit the bottom line of our budget, it can give us some relief of spending money from another pot to do some of the things we need to have done,” Gynn said.

Gynn said it is important for the school to look at balancing the roles of education and money.

“I think the community sends their two most valuable, their two most precious possessions to the school, their money and their kids,” Gynn said. “I think we have to do the best that we can with both of them.”

Contact public affairs reporter Pam Crimbchin at [email protected]