Reynoldsburg Board of Education
Begeny, Brzezinski: Finances will be a priority
School district voters will have four candidates to choose from Nov. 5 to fill three seats on the Reynoldsburg Board of Education.
Joe Begeny is running against incumbents Ryan Brzezinski, Andrew Swope and Elaine Tornero.
Swope and Tornero were profiled in the Sept. 19 edition of ThisWeek Reynoldsburg News.
* Begeny, 37, is a social studies teacher at Beechcroft High School in Columbus. He and his wife, Tori, have lived in Reynoldsburg for seven years and have two children, ages 7 and 10.
"With two children of my own in Reynoldsburg City Schools, I have a lot at stake when it comes to the success of the district," he said. "With all the opportunities the district and community can provide to our students, I cannot help but want to be a part of it and to continue pushing the district in a positive direction for all students."
Begeny said school funding is a big challenge.
"With reduced state funding and property values that can fluctuate every year, the district must be proactive and innovative in dealing with taxpayer money to continue to provide a great education while respecting the obligations to the community and their tax dollars," he said. "As a teacher, I have seen firsthand the impact education can have on someone and I want to make sure all district students receive the best education they can."
He said the district does a good job of offering many options for students and by keeping a "one-high-school" focus, Reynoldsburg maintains a "small-district feel."
"The district has also worked hard to maintain the trust of the taxpayers and this trust is important, given the ever-changing funding situation," he said.
Open enrollment may have been a controversial subject for some residents, but Begeny said it is working well.
"As open enrollment progresses, the district should continually review its policies to maintain optimum class size for the benefit of our students," he said. "We must be vigilant in our use of these funds."
* Brzezinski, 44, has been married to his wife, Amber, for 21 years. His two daughters are seniors at Reynoldsburg High School.
He is a Reynoldsburg graduate and the family has lived in Reynoldsburg for 20 years.
He is a lieutenant with the Columbus Division of Fire, where has worked for for 22 years; Brzezinski also has been a part-time flight paramedic for MedFlight of Ohio for the past 13 years.
He was elected to the school board in 2009.
"I ran the first time to be a voice for the community and I want to continue to do that," he said. "I do not feel the citizens will have a voice if I am not re-elected. I will continue to strive for accountability."
Brzezinski said dealing with unfunded federal and state mandates is a major challenge for the schools.
"Another challenge is following up with students after they graduate," he said. "We look at test scores that say we are doing a good job today, but we do not have the data that shows we are preparing our students to be productive citizens."
Brzezinski said the district is doing a good job employing excellent teachers.
He said open enrollment has helped the district financially but the original board policy "was clearly violated."
"The original policy had defined deadlines and a defined class size," he said. "Now the current policy was changed to accommodate total control for the superintendent.
"The board creates the policies and the superintendent should uphold those policies," he said. "I do not have an issue with more students enrolling, but I do feel we should have a firm deadline for applications and we should define class size."