Candidate Forum

State school board candidates tackle testing and guns

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   State school board candidates were quizzed Sunday about their feelings on state grade cards, teachers being armed with guns, and collaborating with people they disagree with. Six of the seven candidates running for the one open seat in the 2nd District showed up for the forum hosted by the League of Women Voters from Bowling Green and Perrysburg. They are: Jeanine P. Donaldson has been the director of the YWCA in Elyria for 30 years, was an elementary teacher, and a member of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. Charles Froehlich currently serves on the state school board. He is a retired manufacturing executive with 44 years in manufacturing employee education. W. Roger Knight has more than 40 years of experience in teaching and school administration. Sue Larimer, who has a degree in education, serves on the Perrysburg Board of Education. Vicki Donovan Lyle, who is a member of the Sylvania Board of Education, has a small business advising people on health insurance. Annette Dudek Shine, who has degrees from Washington University, Case Western and MIT, is a university professor and researcher. The first question posed to the candidates was about state report cards. Larimer said the report cards are “terribly flawed.” Perrysburg schools scored 119 out of 120 on criteria for gifted students, but yet failed to meet the state’s indicator in that category. However, Larimer said she would not like to see the state tests discarded, since Perrysburg’s high scores help with real estate sales in the community. Lyle said previous state testing was more meaningful, but the current system treats districts unfairly. “It’s not good for attracting business to Ohio,” she said. The system gives districts unexplainable grades. “I think it’s unfair,” Lyle said. Shine agreed the system is flawed. “Clearly it’s not good for attracting business to the state of Ohio.” The testing is stacked against poor districts and results are based on statistically unreliable data, she said. Donaldson said a decade ago Ohio schools were ranked fifth in the nation, but have now slipped to 23rd. The current administration is focused on more career-based education. “It pits communities against each other,” she said about the testing. But it will take Ohio voters to stop the state testing system. Froehlich said the state testing has “evolved into a monster over the years.” “What’s going on in the schools is…


Local candidates face questions at forum

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As the nation was preparing for the second presidential debate Sunday evening, Wood County residents filled up seats in a Bowling Green church to listen to local candidates. Though the forum was much less contentious than the presidential debate, there were a few accusations lodged at the local level. The League of Women Voters from Bowling Green and Perrysburg hosted the candidate forum for nine county, state and national races. Questions for the forum were accepted from the audience on note cards ahead of the event. But because there were 17 candidates sharing the stage, only two questions were posed to each. The candidates were all given a couple minutes to sum up at the end. The biggest sparks flew when the candidates for the Ohio House – Republican Theresa Gavarone and Democrat Kelly Wicks – were called to the microphones. The first question asked each to identify their top two priorities. But in response to multiple flyers mailed to local residents and a television commercial accusing Wicks of not paying his taxes, Wicks took the opportunity to set the record straight. “I’m Kelly Wicks and I pay my taxes,” he said.  Several years ago, he missed the deadline for a property tax payment, but paid it as soon as he realized the error, Wicks said. He questioned why his opponent and the state Republican party were spending so much on untruths. “Why is she willing to go so ugly, so early?” Wicks said. “What are you hiding?” Gavarone said she did not review the ads against her opponent. “They were produced out of Columbus and mailed out of Columbus.” She also stated her top priorities would be the economy and education. “It’s important to keep Wood County working,” Gavarone said, suggesting the need to reduce taxes and regulations on businesses. Schools need to be funded adequately and the concerns of educators need to be heard, she said. The second question for the House candidates was about charter schools and the need to make them accountable financially and in terms of student progress. Gavarone said recent legislation is making charter schools more accountable, but added “we need to stay vigilant.” Wicks voiced a much different opinion. “I’m against charter schools,” he said. “They have done damage” by draining dollars from the public school system, he said, adding that charter schools are not…