Three separate races involving five candidates will determine the holders of four seats on Conneaut School Board.
While most area school boards are elected on an at-large basis, with all district voters selecting from among the same candidates, Conneaut is divided into three voting regions. Although the district recently consolidated three distinct attendance areas, each with its own elementary and secondary schools, into one high school, two middle schools and two elementary schools, voting still is divided approximately along the former attendance-area lines.
School board members are allowed to cross-file, allowing their names to be listed on both the Republican and Democratic tickets on the November ballot.
In this year’s race, candidates agree that a lack of funding is a major issue confronting the district.
The only competition in this year’s contests is in Region 2, where two incumbents and one former board member are facing off for two seats. The region is comprised of Conneautville, Springboro and Spring, Summerhill and Summit townships.
Incumbent Carol Bocan, now in her 24th year on the school board, is a graduate of Conneaut Valley High School. A retired university professor and business and communication consultant, Bocan was outspoken in her opposition to the concept of forming a separate high school. Bocan is listed on the Democratic party line.
Incumbent Dot Luckock, also a graduate of Conneaut Valley High School, is owner and manager of Master Feed & Grain in Conneautville. She was appointed in August to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Gina McCauley. Luckock cross-filed and is listed on both the Republican and Democratic party lines.
Former board member John Burnham, also a Conneaut Valley High School graduate, served on the board for eight years before being defeated in the 2007 primary and waging an unsuccessful write-in campaign during the general election that followed. An outspoken opponent of both district consolidation and the districtwide renovation program that took place during his first stint on the board, Burnham is running on the Republican party line to regain a seat.
In Region 1, incumbent Dave Schaef, a 29-year veteran of the board, is running unopposed.
In Region 3, incumbent Don Ellis is running unopposed for his second term on the board.
In 2013, voters across Pennsylvania will fill four seats on each of the state’s 500 nine-member school boards. Voters in Conneaut’s Region 1, which roughly comprises the district’s former Linesville attendance area, will select one representative. Voters in Region 2, the former Conneautville attendance area, will select two representatives. Voters in Region 3, the former Conneaut Lake attendance area, will select one representative. In 2015, the numbers will be reversed, with regions 1 and 3 selecting two representatives and Region 2 selecting one.
Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.