Three incumbents are running on the Nov. 5 ballot to retain their Hilliard school board seats against a single challenger, 2011 Darby High school graduate Brian Perry.
Paul Lambert, Andy Teater and Lisa Whiting say they want to continue their public service to the school district and have expressed a desire to continue to work with new superintendent John Marschhausen.
Perry, meanwhile, says he can provide the fresh perspective of a recent graduate of Hilliard schools.
School board seats are nonpartisan and have four-year terms. The other current board members are Heather Keck and Doug Maggied.
Lambert, 59, will complete his first term on the board at the end of the year. He was elected in 2009.
Lambert said he is "humbled" to have the opportunity to serve and "will gladly offer my services if the voters choose to have me."
"I hope to have the opportunity to continue serving the community," he said. "We've done a lot of good work, but there is more to do (and) I want to continue the work we've started."
The highlight of his first term, Lambert said, was the hiring of Marschhausen earlier this year.
"It's the key responsibility of any school board and we made a great hire," Lambert said.
Lambert said a primary motivator in his re-election bid is the opportunity to work with Marschhausen.
Lambert said educating and communicating with the district's residents, parents and those without students alike, is paramount, especially when a levy is being considered.
"People need to be aware of the economic forces at work in the district," he said.
Lambert said a great deal of money is needed to operate a district the size and quality of Hilliard, "and the burden to fund it is increasingly falling to the local community."
"We must have a dialogue about what programs and services we want to offer and how much we are willing to invest in tax dollars to provide it," Lambert said.
Lambert said the district historically has afforded opportunity "above and beyond" those of many other districts, but it is not feasible to "provide everything to everyone at all times" without additional financial support in equal measure.
"How much can we offer? How much are voters willing to pay? Those are questions we need to address," he said.
Concerning unfunded mandates from the Ohio Department of Education, Lambert said people too often focus on the term "unfunded" rather than "mandate," where a larger problem lies.
"The real issue is the mandate," because financially healthy districts such as Hilliard will receive a smaller share of public funding, he said. "If it is our own policy, we are in a better position to fund it."
The degree of Ohio's involvement at local levels is a matter of philosophy, Lambert said, but some actions can challenge the district, and some need further consideration.
An example, Lambert said, is the new standard for evaluating teachers based on student performance.
"There are a lot of variables, I think, that go into the success of educating a student," he said. "It's a high-stakes system and one that needs to be put into practice to see it if works."
If re-elected, Lambert said he "will continue to bring my experience, values and passion (as a board member) to have a positive impact on our children and our community."
Lambert is a retired technology executive and has a bachelor's degree from Capital University.
He and his wife, Terry, have two children, both graduates of Hilliard schools.
Perry, 20, includes campaigning in his to-do list while he studies political science at Capital University.
Perry was one of five candidates who sought two seats on the Hilliard school board in 2011. He graduated from Darby earlier that year.
He said he considers it his "duty as a citizen to improve the community" and hopes to have the opportunity to do so as a board member.
"I think I have a lot of good ideas to offer," said Perry, whose father was a 28-year educator for Dublin City Schools.
Perry said insight from his father's job as an educator, coupled with his recent experience as a student at Hilliard, affords him a unique perspective.
"As a student, I experienced firsthand some of the decisions the board made," Perry said, citing the loss of some extracurricular activities as a cost-savings measure. "I think there are some other unnecessary expenses where the district could save money in other places."
Perry said the district is spending unnecessary money by renting the Jerome Schottenstein Center at the Ohio State University for three consecutive days for each district high school's commencement ceremonies.
Instead, Perry said, the district should explore holding all three ceremonies on the same day. Other districts, including Dublin, typically rent the Schottenstein Center facilities on a Saturday for all of their ceremonies.
Perry also said the district has too many personnel in some areas.
"I think there is too much staffing at the central office," Perry said. "We could reduce the number of assistant principals though attrition the same way the district did by reducing the number of its athletics directors."
Because of the reduction of state funding in recent years, "we need to reduce some of these luxuries," Perry said.
On a more specific level, Perry said, he sees a need for the district to address bullying, including allowing for the transfer of students to another building, and for more lenient policy for hallway passes and restroom use.
While campaigning, Perry said, he has been "amazed at how much people appreciate what I'm trying to do."
Perry's other goals include lobbying the Ohio legislature to restore previous levels of public funding for education and establishing a reduction or exemption from tax increases for residents on fixed income or public assistance.
"(My opponents), as incumbents, I think tend to have one-sided views," Perry said. "I can bring a different perspective, not better or worse, but a different perspective."
Teater, 51, is the board president and will complete his second four-year term at the end of the year.
Teater also served as board president in 2010 and was board vice president in 2012, 2008 and 2007. He first was elected to the board in 2005.
As an experienced board member and the only candidate with children currently attending Hilliard schools, Teater said, he is well-qualified to continue serving.
"As the father of three students in the district, I understand the opportunities and challenges our students and parents experience," Teater said.
He also said one of the current board's most significant accomplishments in the past four years was the hiring of Marschhausen.
"I am pleased that when (former superintendent Dale) McVey retired, the board developed a process to find our new superintendent and remained loyal (to that process)," Teater said. "It resulted in finding a quality superintendent."
Teater said the new superintendent also is a reason he is seeking a third term on the board.
"I believe there needs to be stable leadership on the board as we transition with a new superintendent," Teater said.
He said he also wants to continue improving the district with Marschhausen and other board members.
On the issue of policy requirements and unfunded mandates from the Ohio Department of Education, some can pose a challenge, Teater said.
"Whenever we get mandates, there is a cost and it can affect our budget," Teater said. "(But) we have controlled our spending and continue to search for cost savings in every area."
Still, Teater said, the district will need to seek a levy within the next four years.
"I will look forward to the dialogue between (the board) and the residents about how this levy will look," he said.
Teater said he hopes residents will consider the academic quality of the district, both in choosing board members and when considering the future levy.
While a board member, Teater said, Hilliard "has consistently been one of the highest ranking school districts in Ohio." The district also received a top ranking on the Ohio Department of Education's most recent report card for academic growth in one year, known as a "value-added" measurement, across the entire student population.
This was achieved, Teater said, while planning conservatively and spending wisely.
"We have been good stewards of the tax dollars and will continue to do so," said Teater, adding he will continue to forge in-roads with municipal officials in Hilliard, Dublin and Columbus, as well as state legislators.
"(If re-elected), I will continue to work hard to assure the district provides a high-quality education to all students, utilizing efficient and cost-effective techniques," he said.
Teater and his wife, Phyllis, have three children: a 17-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old son and daughter who are twins.
He owns Teater Relocation Services and has a bachelor's degree in economics from the Ohio State University.
Whiting, 51, was appointed to the school board in October 2007 and elected to her first term in 2009.
She is the board vice president. She also served as board president in 2012 and as vice president in 2011 and 2010.
Whiting said she is "excited and proud" to be a board member and to have played a role in guiding the district for the past six years.
"I'm dedicated and enjoy the work I do," Whiting said. "I want to continue to work with my fellow board members to keep moving in positive ways."
Whiting said she considers the hiring of Marschhausen as the board's greatest accomplishment.
"I'm proud that we involved the community to such a great extent, and with our interviews ... that resulted (in hiring Marschhausen)," she said.
Of equal significance, Whiting said, was the opening this year of the McVey Innovative Learning Center as the district's former central offices.
"The MILC provides so many unique opportunities (and) I think other districts will want to emulate our (learning center)," she said.
Concerning the district's finances, board members have "made sure the district's money goes as far as it can," Whiting said.
Whiting said the district expects to receive slightly more state funding than first expected, which would help the district extend its most recent levy, approved in 2011.
"Communication is fundamental to our success," and applies to all levels, not only levy requests, Whiting said, adding that communication with state legislatures concerning public funding and policies is equally important.
In addition to six years of board experience, Whiting has served on multiple boards, including policy review and as a liaison for the Hilliard Education Foundation and the superintendent's advisory group.
"It is critical to stay informed about funding changes, curriculum revisions (and other changes that) have an effect on our schools," she said. "Board members must provide the leadership to ensure that our schools are meeting the needs of the entire community while improving the quality of education for all students."
If re-elected, Whiting said, her goals include, when necessary, to make sound choices concerning any levy placements, and through the policy committee, to continue finding the most efficient techniques to operate the district and educate students.
Whiting said she remains passionate about her role on the board and hopes to continue serving residents of the school district.
"I'm dedicated and accessible and have the time and commitment to work to maintain the excellence of our district," Whiting said.
Whiting has a bachelor's degree in nursing from the Ohio State University. She is a registered nurse and a performance improvement coordinator for Nationwide Children's Hospital.
She and her husband, David, have one daughter, a 2012 graduate of Bradley High School.