There apparently will be a contested race for the South-Western City School District Board of Education.
R. Kirk Hamilton and Adam Slane filed Aug. 28 as write-in candidates for the race after the Franklin County Board of Elections announced Aug. 21 that candidate petitions for incumbent board member Lee Schreiner and challenger David Donofrio were not certified.
Pending board of elections certification as write-ins, Hamilton and Slane will be added to the slate of candidates that includes incumbents Cathy Johnson and Robert Ragland and first-time candidate Anthony Caldwell.
After Schreiner and Donofrio's nominating petitions were disqualified and before the write-in candidates filed, only three candidates were on the November ballot for four open seats. The full terms for Johnson, Schreiner and Karen Dover all expire at the end of this year. Dover has decided not to run for re-election.
Ragland, who was appointed in August 2016 by the board to fill the seat left vacant when Randy Reisling resigned, is running for election in his own right to complete Reisling's unexpired term. The term runs through the end of 2019.
Without certification of the other candidates and no write-in candidate, the South-Western school board would have had to appoint a person to fill the remaining seat in January.
The filing deadline for write-in candidates was 4 p.m. Aug. 28.
Hamilton, 61, served as South-Western's superintendent from Jan. 1, 1998, to Dec. 31, 2007. Since 2009, he has been executive director for the Buckeye Association of School Administrators. He lives in Grove City.
Hamilton said he decided to run for a seat on the board after learning about the shortage of candidates because he wants to help South-Western continue on its positive trajectory.
"The district has made so much progress and done such good work over the past several years," he said. "I still live in the community and devoted 10 years of my life serving as superintendent. If I can help continue the progress we're making, I felt it would be a worthwhile thing to do.
"South-Western is my school district," Hamilton said. "I live in Grove City and my children all graduated from the district. It's an extremely well-run district and we need to continue working to prepare our students for the challenges they face as they enter adulthood."
The Buckeye Association of School Administrators is a private, nonprofit organization serving school superintendents and other administrators in Ohio.
"This is my 36th year in the education business," Hamilton said. "I deal in the educational policy arena each day as part of my job, working and meeting with administrators, the Ohio School Boards Association, the Ohio PTA, businesses and the Ohio Department of Education. My experience and perspective is something I can bring to the board."
Hamilton and his wife, Sue, have three adult children.
Slane, 29, previously ran for the school board in 2009, a year in which nine candidates, including one write-in candidate, were on the ballot.
"I wasn't planning to run this year," Slane said. "Lee (Schreiner) is a good friend of mine and I was planning to support his candidacy.
"I just thought the voters should be given a choice, and it shouldn't be left up to the school board to decide who serves on the board," Slane said.
"I want to help make sure the district continues to handle taxpayers' money responsibly and provides the best possible education for our students," he said.
A 2006 graduate of Westland High School, Slane is a senior caseworker for U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Upper Arlington).
A Columbus resident, Slane also serves as a trustee for the South-Western City School District Educational Foundation and is chairman of the foundation's grant and scholarship committee and for its annual honors concert.
The Franklin County Board of Elections will vote on certifying Hamilton and Slane as candidates at its Sept. 11 meeting, said Aaron Sellers, public information officer for the board of elections.
Still trying to run
Schreiner and Donofrio have requested to be placed on the board of elections' Sept. 11 agenda to state their case for being included on the ballot, Sellers said.
The board of elections ruled Aug. 21 that Schreiner and Donofrio's petitions did not include a sufficient number of valid signatures.
Schreiner and Donofrio each turned in petitions with fewer than the 300 valid signatures of qualified electors required for candidates in school districts with a population of 100,000 or more.
Schreiner turned in 408 signatures, 290 of which were ruled to be valid, and Donofrio turned in 370 signatures, 293 of which were found to be valid, Sellers said.
The Ohio Revised Code prohibits a disqualified candidate for an office from running as a write-in candidate for the same office, he said.
The elections board declared nine candidates in various races throughout the county as not certified for the fall election, Sellers said.