School board candidates to speak at NAACP forum Monday

Four seats on the Dayton school board are up for election Nov. 7, and only one incumbent is in the race. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF
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Four seats on the Dayton school board are up for election Nov. 7, and only one incumbent is in the race. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF

Candidates for school board in Dayton, Trotwood and Jefferson Twp. will participate in a public forum organized by the Dayton Unit NAACP at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Dayton Boys Preparatory Academy, 1923 W. Third St.

“This will be an excellent opportunity to hear first-hand from the candidates that are running for office,” said NAACP 2nd vice president Tom Roberts, a former longtime state legislator. “The candidates elected this November will make decisions at the local level that will affect our lives on a daily basis.”

Dayton school board

Eight candidates are running for four seats on the Dayton school board, and with only one incumbent on the ballot, there is a guarantee of at least three new faces being elected.

The eight candidates are Karen Wick-Gagnet, Jocelyn Rhynard, Joe Lacey, Jo’el Jones, Bill Harris Jr., Ann Marie (Mario) Gallin, Paul Bradley and Mohamed Al-Hamdani.

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Lacey is the only incumbent on the ballot. The other three incumbents – Hazel Rountree, Ron Lee and Adil Baguirov – decided not to run for re-election. Other current board members Robert Walker, John McManus and Sheila Taylor are halfway through their four-year terms.

The vote comes at a crucial time for Dayton Public Schools. One year after escaping the threat of state takeover, DPS is coming off a long, painful contract fight with its teachers, who issued a vote of no confidence in the board and superintendent. The district has solved some of its busing problems, but after a rise last year, student growth scores dipped again on the 2016-17 state report card.

Trotwood school board

In the Trotwood-Madison school board race, incumbents Myra Bozeman, Deborah Daniel and Denise Moore are being challenged by Toni Perry Gillispie and Norman Scearce. Only three will be elected.

Trotwood schools are only one year from potential state takeover by an academic distress commission. They posted the lowest performance index of Ohio’s 608 school districts on the recently released state report card.

Jefferson school board

Jefferson Twp. has a strange school board election. They need to fill three regular school board seats, but only two incumbents are running – Cuttino Dargan, and Emmet Orr (as a write-in candidate). Election officials said that means after the Nov. 7 vote, the Jefferson Twp. school board will follow its internal procedure to fill the remaining four-year vacancy.

But there’s a separate vote for the last two years of an unexpired board term, and two people are running for that one spot – incumbent Vilma Helms and challenger Kanata Jones.

NAACP President Derrick Foward said his organization does not endorse candidates, but as an “issues-driven organization” it reserves the right to publicize if a candidate does not support the group’s issues.

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