Tri-Village News

Grandview school board race

Leutz: Municipal experience will transfer well to position

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A few months ago, running for the Grandview Heights school board was the last thing John Leutz expected to be doing this fall.

Leutz, a former Grandview Heights mayor and City Council member, is one of three write-in candidates who joined the race after the Franklin County Board of Elections rejected incumbent Katie Clifford's candidacy because she failed to sign the papers she filed.

Write-in candidates Leutz, Stephanie Evans and Sandy Kipp will face off against incumbent Grant Douglass and candidate Jesse Truett for three board seats Nov. 5.

After the board of elections announced Clifford was not going to be included on the ballot, "I had several people get hold of me and said they wanted to make sure we had good board candidates and that I should run as a write-in candidate," Leutz said.

At first he was hesitant, he said, because his experience was in municipal government.

"But whether it's a city or a school district, local governance is still local governance and you're still doing the same basic thing, just in a different venue," Leutz said.

What he would bring to the school board is experience in areas -- negotiating contracts, understanding public finance, helping to set policy goals and objectives -- that would be transferable to a new position, he said.

School districts rely heavily on the revenue that comes from voter-approved property taxes, Leutz said.

"We need to make sure we are spending the resources the community gives us wisely," he said.

"We have to have solid financial and educational reasons for every expenditure we make" so the community remains confident its tax money is being put to good use, he added.

"We have to make sure the educational opportunities we provide our children are going to be there in the future."

The district appears to be taking the right steps to make sure Grandview keeps up with new state and federal educational mandates, including the third-grade reading guarantee and new state report card, he said.

"I think what I bring to the table is I don't have any hidden agendas or preconceived notions," Leutz said. "I'm open to considering any idea for how the Grandview Heights City School District can make sure it continues to provide a quality education to each individual student."

Leutz, 59, has had five children go through Grandview schools. He has been a Grandview middle school Science Olympiad head coach for 18 years and is the regional tournament director.

He was Grandview mayor from June 1992 through 1999 and served twice on City Council, from 1984-87 and again from 1990 until becoming mayor.

Leutz now serves as a senior policy analyst for the County Commissioners Association of Ohio.

He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration, economics and political science and a law degree, both from Capital University.

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