Tri-Village News

Write-ins make school board race interesting

With Clifford's disqualification, three write-in candidates step up; Marble Cliff race unopposed after second DQ


Grandview Heights school member Katie Clifford will not be able to run as a write-in candidate after her name was removed from the ballot by the Franklin County Board of Elections.

Three other people, however, have filed as write-in candidates for the Nov. 5 election: Stephanie Evans, retired board secretary Sandy Kipp and former Grandview mayor John Leutz.

They would join board President Grant Douglass and former Grandview Heights High School principal Jesse Truett to vie for three seats.

Clifford's name was removed because of an incomplete circulator statement.

While all of the signatures she received for her petition -- about double the number required -- were proper, Clifford said she was disqualified because she failed to write down the number of signatures on a line located below her signature on the document she filed.

"It's frustrating to be off the ballot because of such a small mistake," Clifford said, "but it's a violation of the rules, so I accept it."

She cannot file as a write-in candidate, and because the rules are clearly stated, she cannot appeal her removal from the ballot, she said.

"It's disappointing, because I feel we've had a great four years on the board, especially the last two years with Grant as president and me as vice president," Clifford said. "We've done a lot of forward-thinking, progressive things on the board."

Evans said she had not thought about running for the board until the board's decision about Clifford.

"A friend actually approached me and said, 'Have you given any thought to running yourself?' " Evans said. "Probably the driving force behind my decision to file as a candidate is I think it would be so exciting to be on the board right now with new administrators and so many good things happening in the district."

Evans has been involved with the PTO, the middle school's Kids in Strings program and the Band Parents Association.

She owns her own photography studio.

Kipp retired May 31 as board secretary after 35 years as a school district employee.

"I've been enjoying retirement, but I miss the students. After all those years, it's a little hard to stay away," she said. "It gets into your system. I had been thinking about volunteering in the schools" before deciding to run for the school board.

Kipp said she had earlier considered filing as a candidate.

When Clifford was disqualified, she decided to act on the idea.

The district deserves to have a full slate of the best candidates possible, Kipp said.

Leutz served as Grandview Heights mayor from 1992-2000.

He is senior policy analyst at the County Commissioners Association of Ohio.

Leutz could not be reached for comment earlier this week.

Another local candidate, Joanne Taylor, was disqualified from the ballot for Marble Cliff Village Council, also because of an incomplete circulator statement.

Her disqualification will mean the Village Council race will be uncontested. Incumbents Matt Cincione, Jack Kukura and Linda Siefkas and former Grandview City Council member Dow Voelker will claim the four available seats in January.