Adams County voters will have the opportunity to choose two of three candidates for the Ohio Valley School District School Board this election year. Two of the candidates, Kent Bauman and Charlie Bess are incumbents seeking re-election, the third candidate, Sarah (Sally) McDaniel is seeking election for the first time.
Kent Bauman is currently the President of the OVSD School Board. He lives in Otway. As President of the Board Bauman makes Committee Appointments and serves as the Career/Technical Advisor and the Finance/Audit Committee Chairperson. Said Bauman, “I bring practical experience to the job. I’ve served 10 years on the board and I always try to do what’s right for the students.”
Charlie Bess is also seeking re-election to the board. A lifelong resident of West Union, Bess worked at the Adams County Regional Medical Center as an Ultrasound Technologist and Radiologic Technologist from 1990-2011. She is a graduate of West Union High School and Morehead State University. As a board member Bess serves as Career/Technical Advisory – Chairperson Facilities and Transportaion Committee, and OSBA Legislative Liaison.
Sarah (Sally) McDaniel is the non-incumbent candidate. She is a lifelong resident of Adams County, a business owner, and graduate of Peebles High School. McDaniel has 31 years of experience in the OVSD education system, and currently serves as librarian for the Peebles Elementary School. “If elected I will diligently strive to take our schools to higher levels,” she says of her dedication to improving education for all students.
The election of school board members is of paramount importance in any community because the school board represents the public’s voice in education. What is expected of a school board?
According the Great Kids! web site, “The most important thing a school board does is to establish a vision for the community’s schools.” The board must consider what the school needs and what the community wants.
What philosophy of education do we want our local schools to have? What should our students know and be able to do when they graduate? How can schools best educate students who come from diverse backgrounds? These are some of the types of questions that a school board must ponder when trying to establish a vision.
Whatever the vision may be, it’s up to the school superintendent to implement it. This is why one of the board’s most crucial decisions is the hiring and firing of the superintendent. The board also approves the superintendent’s personnel recommendations.
The school board has a wide variety of additional responsibilities, such as adopting a balanced annual budget and issuing interim financial reports, adopting the school calendar, negotiating contracts with employee unions, approving curriculum materials and closing or constructing schools.
School board meetings must be open to the public with the agenda publicly posted in advance. You can learn a lot about your district’s policies and challenges by attending a meeting. In most cases, you are given the opportunity to express your opinions to the board.
A school board is accountable for the performance of the schools in your district. If the schools are not producing it is your right as a voter to select new board members.
According to Ohio’s school board web site, school board members are one of the largest groups of elected officials in the state, and are charged with one of the major responsibilities in government — to provide the best educational opportunities possible for the youth of Ohio.
What does a school board member do?
A school board sets educational goals and establishes policy for the school system based upon state laws and community values. Perhaps the most important responsibility of a school board is to employ a superintendent and treasurer and hold them responsible for managing the schools in accordance with the school board’s policies.
Board members make decisions on a wide range of issues, such as hiring and evaluating a superintendent and treasurer; setting district policy; planning student services; goal-setting and long-range planning; adopting curriculum; establishing budgets; engaging parents; being good fiscal stewards; acting in the best interest of the school district and within the scope of their legal authority; and creating community relations programs. A board member should be a skilled decision-maker; however, decisions are only made by the board as a whole at a public meeting.
Another important part of the board’s work is its public relations role. School board members help build public support and understanding of public education, and lead the public in demanding quality education. The school board serves as a link between schools and the public.
What a school board member doesn’t do? According to the Ohio School Board rules the role and function of board members often are misinterpreted by the public, and in some cases, by board members themselves. The board is a policy-making body and members are the chief advisers to the superintendent on community attitudes. Board members do not manage the day-to-day operations of a school district; they see to it that the system is managed well by professionals.
Board members are not education professionals. They do not evaluate staff, other than the superintendent and treasurer, nor do they become involved in employment interviews, other than those of the superintendent, business manager and treasurer. Board members may be consulted during the hiring process for other positions, such as assistant superintendent.
(Candidate Charlie Bess had not responded to our inquiries as of press time.)