Three board seats up for election in each local district
Both Pataskala-area school boards have three seats up for election Nov. 5, but only the Southwest Licking race will have an element of uncertainty.
The Southwest Licking board has five candidates running for the three seats in the November general election.
Incumbents Don Huber and Roger Zeune both are seeking re-election against challengers Daniel J. Bell, Andy Leachman and John Y. Vincent, all Pataskala residents.
The third seat belonged to Cindy Zaino, who resigned in July. Former board member Brad Williams was appointed in August to finish Zaino's term, but he is not eligible to run for the seat in November.
"I think it's exciting that we have more candidates than we have positions," said Southwest Licking Superintendent Robert Jennell.
Jennell said it shows community members are taking an interest in an active district.
"They simply want to be part of making Southwest Licking a better place," Jennell said.
The top three vote-getters Nov. 5 will have busy terms, Jennell said, including plenty of changes at the state level.
He said one of those changes is school choice.
"We're going to need to attract students," Jennell said, and the Southwest Licking district must be competitive as more and more options for education present themselves to parents and children.
Jennell said district officials must ensure Southwest Licking doesn't lose students as well.
Other changes he noted include the Third Grade Reading Guarantee and the new state report cards, which closely scrutinize districts.
"The new board member or members will have to help us with that," Jennell said.
Also, board members will deal locally with district overcrowding and possibly a massive renovation and construction project.
"Whoever gets on the board will have a say in that, too," Jennell said.
Board Vice President Debra Moore agreed.
"I think it's wonderful that we have this much interest in the board," Moore said. "People are excited and want to get involved."
Three Licking Heights school board candidates met the filing deadline to appear on the Nov. 5 ballot, but only two are incumbents.
Board President Mark Loth chose not to seek another term.
That leaves incumbents Matthew Satterwhite and Richard Wand seeking re-election and Blacklick resident Tracy Russ running for the Loth's seat.
"(Russ) will do a great job," Loth said. "It'll be a smooth transition."
Loth said Russ helped with the recent levy campaign and is familiar with district issues.
Loth, who will have spent six years on the board, said his daughter is graduating from Licking Heights High School and it's time for him to move on.
"I think it's good to have people on the board with children in the district," he said.