Rocky Fork Enterprise

G-J school board race

Schuler would support levy to maintain, improve buildings

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Gahanna-Jefferson School Board Vice President Jill Schuler is the only incumbent seeking re-election Nov. 5.

The terms of Board President Claire Yoder and Scott Mounts also will expire at the end of this year, but neither will make a bid to keep their seats.

Other candidates include Matthew Campbell, Jason Phillips and Beryl Piccolantonio.

Schuler, 49, said declining revenue is perhaps the greatest challenge facing the Gahanna-Jefferson schools.

"I fundamentally believe that even in a time of declining revenues, before you ask voters to pay more, the school district has a responsibility to cut waste and find efficiencies," she said.

"During my time on the board we have done that," Schuler said.

"We restructured the central office, eliminating some positions and adjusting pay schedules, and created $1 million in savings over three to five years from outsourcing our technology staffing needs."

Schuler said the district also has implemented energy savings measures, including the installation of solar panels, to save costs in the long run.

"The area where there is still a need is in maintaining and improving our school buildings," she said. "For that purpose, I would support a request to place (a May 2014 issue) on the ballot.

"Fortunately, we have an engaged board, staff and superintendent who have been innovative in identifying funding sources other than traditional tax revenue," Schuler said.

"The Clark Hall and Clark Commons Project, for example, involved a land lease and public-private partnership," she said.

"The times demand that the school board and the administration continually review how we allocate our resources and look for nonconventional ways to adapt to our funding realities," Schuler said.

"The school district is part of a bigger community.

"As a member of the school board, I want to build on the success we have had working with our local government partners and the private sector to pool resources, share services and otherwise find opportunities for cost savings to benefit all involved."

Schuler has a decade of experience working in state government at the executive and legislative level.

"I gained classroom experience, teaching Russian language and culture while pursuing my doctorate," she said.

"Most importantly, I am a mom of four children who attend Gahanna-Jefferson Schools: a first- and third-grader at Jefferson Elementary and a sixth- and eighth-grader at Middle School East. I have a vested interest and am committed to the future success of our district."

Schuler said she's seeking re-election because she wants a quality education that is second to none for her children and all Gahanna-Jefferson students.

"I also have demonstrated that I am a good steward of our budget and can be creative with limited resources," she said. "For Gahanna-Jefferson schools to be the best, we need engaged parents at every level.

"As a concerned parent who also knows a little something about navigating the bureaucracy that is government, I have much more to contribute to our district. I would be honored to serve," Schuler said.

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