Calling today's political climate the "silly season," Westerville resident Peg Duffy cautioned school board members to remember a section of the Ohio Revised Code and steer clear of allowing politicians to use school space before the November election.

Calling today's political climate the "silly season," Westerville resident Peg Duffy cautioned school board members to remember a section of the Ohio Revised Code and steer clear of allowing politicians to use school space before the November election.

Duffy brought up the issue at the Aug. 8 Westerville Board of Education meeting, saying, "I hope the board would be attentive to the state ordinance that says no political-type meeting may be held during school hours."

She said four years ago, a presidential election event moved indoors at Westerville South High School due to inclement weather.

"Given the divisive nature of this year's presidential election, I hope you will just say no to the silly season," she said.

ORC 3313.78, titled "Political meetings on school premises" states that a board of education has control over any school premises and can permit political meetings "for the discussion of public questions and issues."

Board President Richard Bird addressed Duffy's comment, saying he would "walk a bit of a line" with his remarks.

"The current political situation is not healthy," he said.

He called on state and local representatives to "think long and hard" before asking for school space for political events.

"Given the way the season has been going, I'm with you," he told Duffy. "My preference is that we are duty-bound to the code and should focus on students."

Moving on to other board business, Superintendent John Kellogg said district staff members would be ready for the first day of the new school year Thursday, Aug. 18.

He said an addition at Pointview Elementary School, a project that was designed to renovate 15 classrooms and add about 14,000 square feet to the school, including 10 extra classrooms, would be complete by the first day of school.

He said contractors put flooring down in the media center and rooms were "99 percent painted" as of Aug. 8.

District enrollment thus far is exceeding expectations, Kellogg said, although numbers at the beginning of the school year are always higher than October counts.

"On Aug. 10, 2015, total enrollment was 15,003 students, but by October last year, that count was 14,890, which was closer to long-term enrollment projections," he said. "We are at 15,217 students right now, so trending a little bit ahead of last year, but it may level out.

"We will keep an eye on those numbers," he said.

Board member Nancy Nestor-Baker said this is "one of the best times of the year if you are a school person. This is a fresh, new exciting start of a school year."

"You never forget the excitement of the start of the school year," she said. "Every new school year that starts brings new exciting possibilities for our students.

"As we continue to make adjustments to the program, it gets better and better," she said. "This is the good stuff -- it is not the silly season; it is the best season."

The next Westerville school board meeting is set for 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 22, at the Early Learning Center, 936 Eastwind Drive.

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