School board candidates Jennifer Best and Marc Schare did not seek and will not accept endorsements from the local teachers union this year.
Both recently informed Worthington Education Association president Mark Hill that they would not be interviewed for an endorsement and would not accept an endorsement or a campaign contribution.
Both said they support teachers and value their relationships with the WEA, but they believe being endorsed by the union is a conflict of interest, especially with contract negotiations approaching in the next few weeks.
In his letter to Hill, Schare said he sees nothing wrong with an employee association endorsing candidates.
"There is, however, in my opinion, an ethical problem for a school board candidate seeking or accepting an endorsement, let alone money, from an organization representing individuals where an employer/employee relationship exists," Schare wrote.
Both Schare and Best have received union endorsements in previous campaigns.
Schare has been on the board for eight years. Best has been a board member for 12 years.
"Now, after 12 years and several negotiations under my belt, I do not feel seeking the endorsement is appropriate," Best wrote to the WEA. "I want to assure the community I am representing them fairly."
Opting out of the process is not an anti-union statement, Schare wrote in his blog.
"In my eight years as a board member in Worthington, I've come to value our district's relationship (and my personal relationship) with our employee organizations," he wrote.
"I think we have the world's greatest teachers, and I feel I have a good relationship with the WEA, but my job is to represent the community," she said.
Candidate Sam Shim interviewed with the WEA screening committee, seeking an endorsement. Sometimes a board member must work with the union, and sometimes he or she must sit at the opposite end of the table, he said.
"You need to work together to do what is best for the kids," Shim said.
Candidate David Bressman could not be reached for comments.
Bressman, Schare and Best are incumbents, and Shim is the challenger in the race to fill three school board seats in November.
Early and absentee voting began Oct. 1.