The winners in the contested races for the South-Western Board of Education all cite facilities as among the top agenda items in 2018.
"We've all been pleased with how well the first phase of our Ohio Facilities Construction Commission project went, and we'll be looking to begin planning a potential second phase next year," said board member Lee Schreiner.
"It's been wonderful attending all the dedication ceremonies we held the past few years for our new elementary school buildings," he said.
"But, to take one example, if you're standing with parents at, say, Finland Elementary and everyone agrees what a nice new building it is, you look across at Finland Middle School and knowing that's where their children will be attending school in a few years, you want to make sure they, and all of our students, have the same access to state-of-the-art modern buildings at every grade level," Schreiner said.
Schreiner was elected Nov. 7 to his second full term on the board. Board President Cathy Johnson was elected to her fifth term and first-time candidate David Donofrio also won election.
Unofficial final results from the Franklin County Board of Elections showed Johnson receiving the most votes, with 9,678. Schreiner received 8,297 votes and Donofrio garnered 7,550. Anthony Caldwell finished in fourth place with 7,038 votes and write-in candidates received 200 votes.
Board member Robert Ragland, who was appointed in 2016 to fill a vacancy, was elected in an unopposed race to complete his unexpired term ending Dec. 31, 2019.
Providing the best facilities for students pays dividends educationally, Johnson said.
"All the studies show that students perform better when they are attending school in a comfortable, modern 21st-century learning environment," she said.
"We're already seeing the positive benefits of our new elementary schools," Johnson said. "In two years, we should really start seeing the impact shown in our students' performance under that horrible Third-Grade Reading Guarantee set by the state."
Donofrio said he expects the board will begin reviewing the results of an Ohio Facilities Construction Commission evaluation of the district's middle school and Grove City and Westland high schools, both of which are more than 20 years old.
"I expect we will be working toward a possible bond issue for the fall 2018 ballot," he said.
One of his goals as a board member is for the district to begin consideration of eliminating the pay-to-play fees for sports and marching band, Donofrio said.
"As our district continues to grow and our economic situation improves, that's something I hope we can take a serious look at," he said.
In the race for Grove City Council, incumbent Ted Berry was elected for the fourth time to the Ward 1 seat and first-time candidate Christine Houk defeated incumbent Steve Bennett in the Ward 3 race.
Unofficial final results show Berry defeating Ed Fleming by 1,012 votes to 500. Houk received 1,035 votes to Bennett's 654. At-large Councilman Steve Robinette ran unopposed.
The top priority in 2018 for City Council will be the redevelopment of the former site of Beulah Park, Berry said.
"Once we get a plan submitted, I will be going back to the residents in my ward to see what they think about it," he said. "The developer's been great to work with so far and he's working to update his plan for the project."
With Mount Carmel and other medical center development, about 1,000 hospital and medical-related jobs will be coming to the city next year, Berry said.
"Next year, Grove City will see more jobs than ever in its history," he said. "It's exciting."
Houk said she was honored and humbled to be elected to council.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to serve and what lies ahead," she said. "To have the voters come out and show such support for me in my first race, it says they appreciated what you have to offer."
In talking to voters in Ward 3, Houk said, she found they responded to her campaign's focus on the need for "careful attention to infrastructure and to have proactive development. We need to have a strategy to attract the best development and not just be reactive."
In the election for two seats on the Jackson Township board of trustees, incumbents Jim Rauck and David Burris were re-elected, defeating challenger Gilbert Lloyd Sheets.
Unofficial final results show Rauck received 4,517 votes, Burris, 3,667 votes; and Sheets, 2,494 votes.
Burris was elected to his sixth term and Rauck, who has served since 2010, was elected to his third full term.