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The Daily



10-22-03: Celina school board candidates focus on funding, trust


Money issues and fostering the community’s trust are motivating factors for the five candidates seeking three seats on the Celina City Schools board of education.
Board members Cindy Piper and Joe Bath, who served this year as board president and vice president respectively, will not seek another term.
Incumbent Ken Fetters, who is finishing his first four-year board term, will vie with Linda Sue Householder, Amy Hoyng, James Mustard and Thomas Rable for one of the three seats.
Following are the candidates’ replies to questions on personal information, whether they’ve ever held elected office, what they hope to accomplish should they be elected to the board and how they feel about a possible levy on the ballot in March to offset a projected budget deficit in fiscal year 2005.
• Ken Fetters, 58, 917 Chestnut St., is a retired assistant principal at Celina High School and now drives for L & L Distribution in Celina.
One of his two grandchildren attends kindergarten locally.
His current board term is the only elected office he’s held.
“My goal is to provide quality education for our students at the least possible cost to the taxpayers. During my term we’ve cut taxes, dropped income tax and reduced expenditures at every opportunity. I believe I’ve followed through on my promises when I was elected,” he said.
Regarding the $2.5 million budget deficit projected in 2005 and probable levy that board members discussed at their Monday night meeting, Fetters said, “I really don’t want a levy just yet. We are definitely behind the eight-ball, but I’d like to put off the inevitable as long as possible.
“We haven’t collected any money from the (3/4 percent income levy passed last May) and that may bring in more than expected,” he said.
• Linda Sue Householder, 51, 7561 Township Line Rd., works full-time for Relizon Corp., Coldwater, and is a part-time writer for The Daily Advocate, Greenville.
She has one son in the Celina school system and has never held elected office.
“In talking with different types of people in the community, I know there is still mistrust of the school board. Closing Franklin school was a big shock. People are still looking over their shoulders and this isn’t conducive to a good school system.
“I think more balance is needed on the board. Now it’s mostly teachers and former teachers. I have no relationship to the school. I will represent the taxpayers who, after all, foot the bills.”
Regarding the budget deficit and probable levy, Householder said: “I don’t see how we can get around (a new levy), but I have my doubts as to if it will pass. People I’ve talked to are pretty upset about a new levy. I think the two in May passed, not so much from support of the school, but out of fear of what would happen.
“Maybe (the board) should make more drastic cuts and not just threaten. I’m a working single parent and, like a lot of other people, I’m working with no raises. After all, it’s taxpayers who are paying the salaries and expenses for the district.
“I believe in quality education, but many people can’t just keep paying out more money without more money coming in.”
“We have to stop somewhere,” she said.
• Amy L. Hoyng, 33, 825 Fairground Road, is a physical therapist at Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio in Lima. She has one child in the school system and has never held public office.
“I want to make sure we maintain a system with opportunities at every level in a financially responsible way. There has been much mistrust of the board in the past, and I want to make the relationship with the community better,” she said.
Regarding the budget deficit and probable levy, Hoyng said, “With the state reductions and decreased enrollment, we can see why this happened.
“We must continue to look for budget cuts, but we will have to ask the community for money. It’s nothing we could have foreseen. But, I think the gist of it is not mismanagement, but just how things are now.
“I am eager to take a good look at the financial situation, and I’ve not had that opportunity yet,” she said.
• James Mustard, 58, 604 Kingswood Drive, is a retired assistant superintendent of the Celina school district and currently oversees his own business acquiring funds for local government bodies including schools.
For 16 years he served on Celina City Council and was Celina mayor for four years.
“I feel the current board has done a great job in improving credibility with the community, but I still believe money issues need a board member who thoroughly understands financing and can actually read the numbers.
“Numbers have been my life for the past 38 years, and I can articulate to the community regarding financial matters.
“The school was my professional home for 30 years. I want to help them as I do other schools through my business, which is bringing large amounts of grant money,” he said.
Regarding the budget deficit and probable levy, Mustard said, “We can hope the new market activity for the positive will be reflected in an increase of state tax revenues.
“To the positive, the city schools had an unexpected increase in property valuation revenue of approximately $500,000. However, that certainly does not make up for the shortfall.
“The combination of the state reductions and revocation of the three-year rolling average ADM (student enrollment) program may help work local legislation and others in Columbus to get the three-year returned to the state. This would offset a significant portion of the shortfall,” Mustard said.
• Thomas D. Rable, 912 E. Livingston St., 39, is a certified public accountant and serves as manager of administration for CAPT.
He has one child in kindergarten and two in preschool. He has never held elected office.
“I want to continue the work we started in building trust with the community during the recent levy campaign. During the past many community members didn’t like the way things were done at the board level.
“That trust is returning and I want to foster and continue that trend so that we’re all on the same page in the future,” he said.
Regarding the budget deficit and probable levy, Rable said, “I believe as a community we must do whatever is necessary to maintain our schools. It’s our duty as a community to support the schools.
“I haven’t had a chance to review the numbers, but I’m sure the board will be prudent in its decisions. At some point we must trust in the board and superintendent and believe they will do the best for our students.
“Another levy will be a matter of educating the community just as we did last May,” Rable said.


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