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Candidates seeking Perrysburg school board seats speak at forum

Two of the five seats are up for election.

PERRYSBURG, Ohio — Perrysburg residents will head to the polls in about a month, and in addition to city council, they will vote on a school levy request and new school board seats.

"I am really looking for somebody who can commit to the community long term, somebody who is engaged with the community long term, somebody who has a vision long term," said Kevin Morgan, a Perrysburg voter.

Two of the five seats are up for election. 

Three candidates are seeking the positions. Jarman Davis, a member of the board for six years, Ray Pohlman a member of the board for four years and Kelly Ewbank, a Perrysburg native seeking her first election to the school board. 

All three feel they are best suited and explained that before their neighbors at Perrysburg School Foundation's Meet the Candidate night.

"The system in Columbus is broken, but the system here in Perrysburg is doing really well and I want to continue that work," said Davis. 

"I want to serve the community I grew up in and represent the schools that educated me," Ewbank explained.

"It's not time to get out, it's time to get in and continue to support what we've got going in the school system," said Pohlman.

A hot question was about the levy. While all three candidates say they will support the incremental levy this November, this is the issue that separates the candidates.

Ewbank feels the board needs more fiscal responsibility, which she plans to bring.

"I'm fiscally conservative and I see the need with the current financial situation we're in deficit spending someone that's not going to be a rubber stamp and ask the hard questions so we certainly don't get into the situation we're in now," she said.

While some blame the current board for the projected $28 million deficit in the five-year forecast, board members disagree. Davis say the reason is the way the state funds schools like Perrysburg in conjunction with the district's rapid growth.

"We've had over 500 new students since that 2016 levy without any additional funds from the state so you know you could say there's issues, the real issue is we're not getting the support from Columbus so we need to do it here in Perrysburg,"  said Davis.

Others voiced concerns over the board's strategic plan for the future. But Pohlman said that's one of the board's biggest concerns, but if resident don't go to their meetings, they won't know.

"I know those claims are out there, but the thing is that people don't really come to board meetings that are public board meetings as much as we'd like them to but we're at four meetings a month for the last four years. How many meetings is that? Yes, we have a plan, we have a vision," he said.

As the debate continues in Perrysburg, voters will get their say on Nov. 5. 

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