South-Western City Schools Board of Education {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Voters in the South-Western City School District will be choosing from among five candidates to fill four open seats on the school board this November.Incumbents Cathy Johnson, Lee Schreiner and Robert Ragland will face first-time school board candidates Anthony Caldwell and David Donofrio. Board member Karen Dover decided not to run for re-election to her seat.Read more:SWCS board race: Candidates’ opinions vary on top issues for system
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    Anthony Caldwell Director of Public Affairs

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    David Donofrio Senior Account Coordinator, Tailored Management

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    Cathy Johnson Retired Classroom Teacher

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    Lee Schreiner Retired Educator

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The district is conducting an evaluation of school buildings not addressed by the first Ohio Facilities Construction Commission project. What should be the priorities for a second phase project? Are there additional design features that should be considered for the next phase? Should the district proceed with a second phase immediately or wait before tackling another major facilities project?

What can the district do to improve South-Western’s results on the state report card, especially considering the size and diversity of the district?

Given the district’s finances, is it time to consider ending or reducing South-Western’s pay to play fee structure? Why or why not?

What else would you like to say to voters?

Age 36
Education East Liverpool High School Youngstown State University
Experience In my professional life, I work to bring people together on issues of mutual concern to improve the lives of working people and their families.
Family Married to my wife Amelia and proud father of a Westland High School sophomore Ashley.
Religion Baptized Christian United Methodist Church
Campaign website http://bit.ly/Caldwell4US
Twitter @anthonyacaldwell
We need to continue to invest in our South-Western City School District so that our students have clean and safe learning environments that our community can be proud of and will encourage economic development and job creation in our neighborhoods.

We need to make sure we offer the best educational experience to ensure that all students are ready for college or the work force. In an increasingly connected world, we need children who are familiar with the tools that allow them to live and learn in it. That is why we need to have modern technology in our classrooms and more investment for career and technical programs.

I support moving forward with the second phase but believe that we should hold a series of listening sessions with our community to get their feedback, thoughts and ideas.
The diversity of our school district is our strength and we should be proud of how that has inspired more people to enroll their students in our schools. I believe that every child should have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and maximize their God-given talent no matter where they were born or what neighborhood they live in.

Every parent should have the right to send their student to the school of their choice, but it should not come at the expense of our students and our communities. We have to work together – students, parents, teachers, administrators – to continue to advocate for responsible budgeting that invests in our students’ future.

Well resourced schools have smaller classroom sizes and can spend more individual time preparing those students for state testing. We must focus our time, attention and resources on what matters most… preparing our students for the careers of tomorrow, not the tests of today.
I believe in personal responsibility, but the pay-to-play fee structure makes it very difficult for working parents to allow their students in engage in music and athletic programs. I know we start every school year with an astronomic invoice from the school because our daughter is in choir, orchestra and is a cheerleader. It is time to end pay-to-play for our students.

Even with the support of great causes like the Success Beyond The Classroom foundation, we need to revisit this idea altogether. No working mom or dad should have to struggle to provide a well-rounded educational experience for their child. Poverty shouldn't be a barrier to excellence.
I made the decision to run for South-Western City School District Board of Education because I believe every mom and dad in our community should know when they send their son or daughter off to our schools, their students will receive the best education and school experience possible.

I plan to take the my personal and professional experience and work with our current School Board leadership to continue to invest in the future of the services our school district provides our community. We've made great progress as a community but there is still a lot of work to be done.

If you share my vision for building a better future for our families and our community, I hope that I can earn your support and your vote this November.
Age 31
Education Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Wittenberg University. Proud product of central Ohio public schools from pre-K-12
Experience Lifelong resident of Franklin County and product of our public schools. Senior Account Coordinator for a national staffing firm. Involved in my community, including the Lincoln Village Residents Association and block watch organization.
Family Fiance, Ryan.
Religion Christian
Campaign website http://www.daviddonofrio.com
Campaign email donofrioforohio@gmail.com
Twitter http://wwww.twitter.com/davidtdonofrio
Because of the leadership of our School Board, we have brand new elementary schools in every corner of our district. This is a major achievement, and next on the list are our middle schools. Through the first phase, the District learned in the planning and execution of the construction many best practices to ensure that we are being good stewards of tax dollars, while providing the best quality buildings possible for learning and activities. I believe anyone who has taken a tour of the buildings can see the proof of these efforts. Based on good fiscal management, we know that we can begin Phase Two without proposing any new bond issues or levies on residents, so I would advocate moving forward on the planning stages of the projects. It is important that we take into account public input, and the expertise of our educators and administrators, in all of these projects. I would ensure that, similar to the elementary schools, we do so in the planning for the middle school projects.
In reviewing the state report card, our district actually made some improvements, especially on early childhood education. I think that this shows that, from the bottom up, we are listening and making improvements. It is important to recognize that the state report card is largely a measure of standardized testing results and attendance, which are but two of the metrics on which we should judge the success of a school district. However, I believe in an expectation of excellence, and will not rest until we have achieved better scores. We can set several standards to continue improving our achievement - recruiting and retaining the best teachers and staff for our district. Lowering classroom sizes, to allow greater individual attention on each student. Making sure that we are hiring taking into account our 20% ESL population, gifted students, special needs students, and students from varied socio-economic backgrounds. How we grow and look to the future is a top concern of mine.
Yes - this is one of my top priorities. Extracurricular activities are what keep many students in school - I was one of them. When we talk about development of the "whole child," we mean providing support to them in whatever ways we can. Pay to play affects not just athletics, but clubs and the arts as well. With the departure of Karen Dover, we are losing our fiscal operations expert from the Board, and I believe I can successfully fill her shoes because I have 6 years of experience on the Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors, where we oversaw a multi-million-dollar budget of state and local funds, not all that different than a school board. I feel confident that I can continue her meticulous attention to detail in that regard. I'll be a good fiscal steward and partner for our Board, particularly as our district grows, without needing to raise taxes on our residents.
As a Senior Account Coordinator for a major national staffing firm, I interact with leaders of Fortune 500 companies, and see what jobs are being created across America – and what employers expect. Our world is changing, and the expectations of high school and college grads entering the workforce is an ever-rising bar. We must be up for the challenge, and continually exceed our own metrics and expectations – our students should demand no less. Teaching to a test is far from fair to our kids, and does nothing to prepare kids for their future schooling or career paths. We must keep our eye on why we are educating kids in the first place. I want to become the district's "listening board member." Once a week, I will take an evening and choose a random street in the district, with a pad and pen, and ask residents their opinions on the school district. Our interaction with residents should not just occur in an election season. I'd be honored to be one of your four votes this year. Thank you.
Age 67
Education BS & MA Education, OSU; Master Board Member, OSBA; 13 OSBA Awards of Achievement
Experience 30 years teaching in SWCSD. 16 years on the board of education. All Ohio Board member. Past president of the Ohio School Boards Association.
Family Husband, Doug, married 34 years; Son, Chris, CCHS 2008; Daughter, Jennifer, CCHS 2009
Campaign email ohiojohnsons@gmail.com
The priorities for a second phase should be the middle schools. They are the oldest of our remaining buildings and are the only ones not fully air conditioned. As in the past, the parameters for determining priorities include building age, cost to operate, learning conditions, and number of students impacted. The increase in graduation rate at FHHS since the new building opened supports the premise that facilities impact student achievement.

In determining additional design features, we will engage the community and education experts to determine the appropriate features. We will also utilize the expertise of design professionals and the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission as well as visit other school districts with recently completed projects.

We have a reduction in millage coming in the near future, so the timing should take that into consideration. Regardless of the timing, I will be actively involved in working with the community to secure the necessary funds.
While we acknowledge that there’s work to do, we continue to improve. As an educator, I am more concerned with student progress than with a report card showing just a snapshot of achievement.

Our students are exposed to more rigorous curriculum and are performing at higher levels than ever before. We have documented improvement in achievement over the last decade. Over 500 students earned college credit while still in high school and 208 earned industry credentials in their chosen career areas. Our graduates earned in excess of $27,000,000 in scholarships.

The state’s current alignment with new baselines has changed multiple times over the last 25 years. After each change, given time and the support of our community, we have been able to improve our ratings. The scores needed to achieve indicators were raised this past year and indicators that SWCSD met in the past were dropped. Our scores on 19 out of 24 indicators improved. Once again, our performance index score rose.
While I personally do not agree with pay-to-participate fees, it is something that the community told us, through engagement during the 2009 operating levy campaign, that it wanted. To ignore the desires of the community is foolhardy and erodes trust. Continuing these fees is a conversation that should be held in conjunction with the next operating issue. In the meantime, I will continue to work with the Success Beyond the Classroom Foundation to help provide scholarship dollars to students for whom these fees are a burden.
The board of education has acted in a fiscally responsible manner and has stretched the 2009 levy well beyond the promised four years. During that same time, we have added all-day every day kindergarten and an Accelerated Learning Center to our offerings. We have realigned career technical programs to ensure they meet the needs of our students and the community. In the next four years we will begin our second stage of OFCC building partnership and will be able to see the full impact of all-day, every day Kindergarten on third grade retention. I have the experience to assist in bringing any new building project in on time and on budget and the educational background to aid in continuing to improve student achievement.
Age 64
Education Master of Arts (Education), The Ohio State University, Columbus Bachelor of Arts (Education/Drama) Urbana College, OH.
Experience Teacher 37 yrs. (South-Western City School District) SWCSD Board of Education Member (Appointed/Elected) 4.5 years (V.P.) Ohio Master School Board Member/ Ohio School Board Association Board of Directors/ Central Region O.S.B.A. President
Family Wife: Jane (Married 41 yrs.) Sons: Damien (married) Sebastian/ One grandchild
Religion Christian (The Vineyard)
The next phase should include our oldest middle schools & evaluating our two oldest high schools. The board acted in a most fiscally responsible way with our 14 newest replacement schools: matching funds from the state, the most efficient geothermal energy and lighting, finishing 3 phases on time & under budget: All with the community giving input on what they wanted those schools to look like for the 21st century.

The possibility of saving an important part of a school (as was accomplished with FHHS’s auditorium) and realizing a savings because of it, is always part of the good stewardship aspect of getting the “best bang for our taxpayers’ buck!” We have a superintendent with vision & a district treasurer who brilliantly protects & stewards our taxpayer dollars in a well researched and timely best practices way. With the wisdom & experience of these folks and a board that has learned much throughout these prior phases, the community will weigh in with their fine tuning guidance.
The South-Western City School District is currently the 5th largest public school district in Ohio. Our district is a very large and diverse district with varying socio-economic groups. The state report card changes its' thresholds and dynamics every year or two. It is much like a moving target where a district can be an "A" or "B" grade one year and an "F" the next. Our administrators and teachers and educational staff have very high expectations and work consistently throughout our district to offer the very best individual and differentiated education possible for each student's needs for success. The bar is constantly raised through our course offerings as we work each day to prepare students for college, or career and the life skills they will need to be a good productive member of the 21st century. We continue to offer the highly recognized professional development to our educational staff that is respected statewide for its' excellence. We will never stop working to improve.
I was not on the board when this policy was implemented. It is unfortunate that it still exists and I am open to hearing how “pay to participate” could work financially if revisited. I participate now in fund raising activities that benefit students that need aid in participating with sports and extra-curricular fees because of these fees. The reasoning for the policy, as I understand it, was because of the fiscal importance of a need for a supplemental funding fee at the time.

I am willing to research the feasibility of reducing or ending this fee with the changing state funding mandates and the SWCS taxpayers in mind.
I am retired after 37 yrs. of teaching & coaching in the SWCS District. Our school district has been my life; my career. I settled in SWCS after graduating college. I met my wife, raised my family here and my two sons attended & graduated from the SWCS District. SWCS’s is my home. I have dedicated my life to teaching: which continues to be my life: life-long learning. Education is the key to success. I am on a fixed income, as a retiree, so it is very important to me to be a good steward of taxpayer money that is entrusted to our district. I have had the privilege of teaching at every school & represented all areas of our school district at some point in my teaching career. My granddaughter will attend a SWCS kindergarten next year. Most importantly: I am an advocate for the SWCS District, Education and OUR STUDENTS. I have gained much experience in many areas as an educator & a board member. Out of experience comes wisdom, I pray. Let me continue to utilize what I have learned.
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