School Board Candidates Line Up For Another Round of Questions

Six of the seven candidates running for three school board seats answered questions at the Solon Community Center Tuesday night

The SouthEast Republicans hosted a school board candidate's night on Tuesday at the . There are seven candidates running to fill three seats. Candidate Kevin Patton did not attend the forum because he was out of town on a business obligation he could not miss.

Candidates had a chance to give an opening statement, then they each had two minutes to answer six questions given by SouthEast Republicans President Dennis Tidmore. Those questions were followed by inquiries from the audience and closing statements. This is the

Here's a quick look at what the candidates had to say on topics such as Issue 2, the district's retire/rehire process and the possibility of pay-to-play.

Bio Blast: Current school board member. Read her .

Opening Statement: "During my last six terms, I have been on a journey in concert with the district and the administration. I helped negotiate a savings of $8.3 million in personnel contracts to help with revenue losses."

If Does Not Pass, What Are you Prepared to Do?: "We have a great relationship with our unions and we have an open, honest dialogue. Regardless of if it passes or fails, things will continue that way."

What Are Your Thoughts on Retire/Rehire?: "I don't like the (program), but it is a very effective tool. We use state money as an incentive to leave, not local money."

Would You Ever Consider Implementing Pay-to-Play?: "I would never consider it. It's a drastic, last minute effort (to raise revenues) and I would avoid it. We want every child to have the same opportunity regardless of their financial situation.

Bio Blast: Former Solon Mayor; knowledgable about how Columbus works. Read his .

Opening Statement:  "I'm going to help combat the curves the state throws at us (in terms of funding). This district cannot maintain its excellence without proper funding."

If Does Not Pass, What Are you Prepared to Do?: "I think Issue 2 is the Republican's attempt to overturn what the Democrats did in 1982. If it fails, you will see the legislation brought back."

What Are Your Thoughts on Retire/Rehire?: "It's a way to cut costs and control personnel costs. If we were looking at retiring and rehiring an administrator, though, I would ask that we bring them back at half pay, not full pay." 

Would You Ever Consider Implementing Pay-to-Play?: "You do it only in drastic situations. I hope we never have to resort to it. It's not something you do as long as you have a revenue stream." 

Bio Blast: Lawyer; parent of special-needs child in Solon. Read his full .

Opening Statement: "I grew up in a great school district (Cleveland Heights), I got a great education and I want to help give back."

If Does Not Pass, What Are you Prepared to Do?: "It will be repealed and as an immediate consequence, nothing will happen. The governor will try to piecemeal part of it through with other legislation."

What Are Your Thoughts on Retire/Rehire?: "The term 'double dipping' leaves a bad taste in people's mouths, but I think it's a perception issue. It has benefits in Solon and we wouldn't do it if it were a ripoff to taxpayers." 

Would You Ever Consider Implementing Pay-to-Play?: "Never say never. I hope it doesn't happen, but if it does, I would try to limit it as much as possible. I want every kid to be able to play." 

Bio Blast: Certified Public Accountant; parent of Solon students; work on strategic planning process. Read his .

Opening Statement: "It takes a village to educate a child, and that happens here in Solon. After working on the strategic planning process, running for school board seemed like a natural progression for me."

If Does Not Pass, What Are you Prepared to Do?: "Things will continue. The key is open dialogue with everyone. If you're upright and share everything, it is what it is. Things will change but we've been on top of it."

What Are Your Thoughts on Retire/Rehire?: "It's great financially and good for the teachers, too."

Would You Ever Consider Implementing Pay-to-Play?: "No one likes to hear pay-to-play. It's not just sports, it's musical and arts too. If we got to dire straights, I would suggest going to businesses to ask for support." 

Bio Blast: Current president of the school board; Solon business owner. Read her .

Opening Statement: "It has been my privilege to represent Solon as a board member for the last eight years. I have worked tirelessly with the board and the administration to control our costs and reduce expenditures."

If Does Not Pass, What Are you Prepared to Do?: "Reform in (Issue 2) will come around again in House Bill 153. It is in place to address these issues."

What Are Your Thoughts on Retire/Rehire?: "It's a state program that is extremely effective and it has saved us millions. It's a wise thing to do."

Would You Ever Consider Implementing Pay-to-Play?: "We consider the hours from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. as prime time hours to have organization activities to be a part of and enjoy. In the event that it occurs, it would have to be evaluated at that time, but I hope that we could come together to still provide these opportunities."

Bio Blast: Former teacher; parent of students; stay-at-home dad. Read his .

Opening Statement: "I want to make sure this district continues on its excellent path and I think my classroom experience and my education can help us stay that way."

If Does Not Pass, What Are you Prepared to Do?: "More of the same of what we have been doing. We have a good relationship with our teachers union that has looked at the problems and know hat we have to do."

What Are Your Thoughts on Retire/Rehire?: "Financially, it helps the district. You can rehire that teacher for one more year, they pay their health benefits, and they leave. Then you can hire someone new at a lower level."

Would You Ever Consider Implementing Pay-to-Play?: "Colleges aren't just looking for a 4.5 GPA student who took four Advanced Placement classes, because there are a lot of students like that. They're looking at 'this child took drama, played soccer' and stuff like that. They're looking for well-rounded."


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