Voter Guide

The counties included in the voters guide for the Nov. 5, 2019 elections are: Montgomery, Warren, Miami, Greene, Clark, Champaign, and Butler.

NOTE: Not all communities have issues or candidates on the ballot. Guide does not include uncontested races.

Lakota School Board {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Vote for 2

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  • Candidate picture

    James Hahn

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    Ray Murray

  • Candidate picture

    Lynda O'Connor

  • Candidate picture

    Julie Shaffer

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Biographical Information

What are the 3 biggest challenges facing the school district? How would you deal with them?

What makes you qualified to be on the school board and gives you an advantage over other candidates?

What is your position on state testing and graduation requirements?

What would you do to close the skills gap that employers say is hindering their ability to find workers?

Are there any areas where you believe the school district currently underspends, or overspends?

Is the school district doing enough to ensure student safety? If not, what else should they be doing?

Are there any subjects or topics not currently being taught (or not taught broadly enough) that you would like to see expanded?

What other changes could be made that you think would improve students’ academic performance?

If you had to choose between increasing the number of regular teachers, to lower class size, or increasing the number of counselors/social workers/mental-health therapists/school resource officers to deal with non-academic issues, which would you choose?

What other information do you want voters to have about you?

Experience Business Owner - 10 years West Chester Zoning Commission - 10 years
Education Ohio University B.S. Environmental Geography
Twitter @hahnforlakota
Transportation, Facilities and State Funding. Transportation is causing a pinch point with our families at the freshman and high school facilities. In the long term, I would seek a sustainable approach to return transportation to these facilities. In the short term, I would look at efforts to improve onsite traffic flow at these facilities. Some of our facilities are aging. I would look forward to evaluating our buildings with an outside professional and develop a long term sustainable plan to maximize our current assets and mitigate potential future liabilities. Funding at levels remains a concern for our district. At the local level we need to engage with the business community and build a transparent relationship that will engage our businesses to provide a strong working relationship into the future. State and federal funding is a very large moving target. It will be imperative we work with our legislators to protect our current funding into the future.
My strong governance, working on the West Chester Zoning Commission for the last 10 years, has provided me a very sound understanding of Robert’s Rules of Order. With this experience I will help the Lakota School Board Meetings maintain proper order, ensuring everyone is treated with respect, and improve the flow of meetings. Furthermore, I have been groomed since 1998 to understand the intricacies of owning a business. For the last 10 years I have owned and operated a professional engineering firm. I am well versed with budgets, loan covenants, contractual agreements and most importantly peer and client interactions. I firmly believe these skills would be an asset to the Lakota School Board.
My position on this issue is simple. We need to bring back testing and graduation requirements to the local level. By doing so, we will position our teachers to better handle individuals who may need more attention and allow the gifted students the freedom to attain higher levels of learning.
I am assuming this question is for those students who are entering the workforce out of high school. The current unemployment of our country is approximately 4%. This in itself poses a problem for business owners to attract talent in a growing market. For those students who want to start earning wages on a full time basis out of high school, there are many great opportunities. It is imperative that we develop a culture or mindset to encourage graduates that seek immediate employment, that trades can offer a very rewarding career. Furthermore, we need to ensure are students are provided with every option available to obtain additional trade skills to be sucessful.
Mr. Matt Miller and Ms. Jenni Logan have been very accommodating in providing me the time and information necessary to understand the current fiscal status of our school district. The school district operates on close to a $190 million dollar budget. This includes over 1,000 employees, 24 facilities and close to 17,000 students. This is a major business that is funded through the tax payers - both though businesses, residents along with state and federal funding. Fiscal responsibility is paramount. Not only short term, but long term. Based on my review of the school budget and additional information that was made available to me, I do not feel that there is any glaring area that is currently being underspent. Payroll and benefits do not appear to be fiscally sustainable in the long term based on the current budgets. Moving forward, this line item on the P&L must be closely monitored.
No school is too safe. No public building, for that matter is too safe. We live in a very different world then we did pre September 11, 2001. As a future school board member, safety of our children would be paramount. We need to constantly be looking at opportunities to ensure the students of our district are safe. Our children should not only feel safe in school but travel to and from school or attend any school sponsored event in a safe manner. I would take strong stance to always be looking at ways to improve safety for our children.
I feel there are several topics that are not being taught that need to be brought back into our school system. Cursive, script or longhand, however you wish to call it, is essential to the learning process. Personal finance / home economics would be another topic that appears to have disappeared from our current curriculum. Other topics such as wood working and metals classes could also be a good option for students who may be thinking about starting a career out of high school.
More time in school would certainly improve the academic performance of our students. This additional time in school would offer more time for teachers to assist those who may need additional help on certain subjects. Additional time in school would also provide students time to pursue personal interests and special electives such as the arts.
More and more households require dual incomes. This limits the amount of time parents spend with their children today. Based on this, I would choose counselors/social workers/mental-health therapists/SRO’s to deal more with non-academic issues. However, class size is very important and cannot be overlooked. We need to consistently make sure our class sizes not become too large.
My wife Kristi and I have lived in West Chester for 15 years. We love to call this community our home and we love to show it off to our out of town friends. We have many interests. We both enjoy golfing, we are both foodies and we love to try new places to eat and we also enjoy cooking at home. Did you know that Lakota had a Club Hockey team? Not many do! I am extremely proud to share that in 2008, I helped coach the Lakota West Firebirds Club High School team to a State Championship win and finished our season 32-0-1. The 2006-2007 season was a very special team made from a group of young men and one young lady who believed in the system and believed in themselves.
Experience Was a DuPage County Police Officer for 12 years. I was then appointed as a Special Agent for the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Originally assigned to the Atlanta and Miami Field division, however, some assignments took me to various countries throughout the world. I became a businessman after leaving law enforcement. Managed and operated numerous hotels in the Cincinnati area. Current owner of a hospitality business that generates 1.5M per year.
Education Graduated from Huron College in 1974 with a B.A. Graduated from The Police Training Institute at The University of Illinois Graduated from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Academy in Brunswick Georgia Additional Education: F.B.I. Academy United States Jungle Operations Training Center (jotc) in Panama Central America
Twitter @caceflow11
1) Class sizes are getting too large. Studies have that found classes of 15-17 students in grades K-3 provided both long and short-term benefits to both the students and the teachers in those classrooms. Minority students, those living in poverty and male students appeared to benefit from smaller classroom sizes the most.. 2) Rising poverty..Students living at or below poverty level tend to have the highest dropout rates. Students who do not get enough food or sleep are less likely to perform at their full academic potential. 3) The changing look of the family. Family factors play a role in a teacher’s ability to teach students. What is going on at home will impact a student’s propensity to learn. Divorce, single parents, poverty, and many other issues are all challenges a student brings to school every day. Teachers and administrators try to work with children in less than ideal family environments,but they can only do so much.
I was previously elected to the Lakota School Board and served 2 terms. I served 2 years on the Butler Tech School Board as well. I am active in many student and community organizations in Lakota. Here are a few: The Youth in Philanthropy (group of 50 students learning what it takes to give back to the community.) The club know as YIP is a function of the Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty township. I have been a Board Member of this organization for the past 12 years. I am currently a Board Member of the community Foundation of west Chester/Liberty township. I chair the Scholarship committee which grants over$90,000.00 in scholarships to deserving Lakota students each year. I am also on the Grants Committee that supports local nonprofits with financial assistance. We have awarded grants to organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club of Lakota as well as the Edge Teen Center.
State testing has never been an accurate indicator of how well our students are learning and being taught. There are far too many factors that are outside of the control of the teacher for us to put too much faith into State testing. In addition, the graduation requirements are a moving target and are too often use as a political football. It is time that the state do more listening to our classroom teachers instead of mandating wholesale changes made without their input.
The labor markets are continually challenged by technological disruption, demographic change, shifting business models and the evolving nature of work. It is projected that 35% of the skills demanded for jobs across all industries will change within the next 10 years. The private sector and business in general, is the key to managing this transformation. Every person who owns or manages a business especially in the technology industry within the district should be encouraged to partner with the district and provide insight on this challenging issue.
If there is over spending I have not seen it while serving on the School Board. I feel we need to invest more resources on support staff. Students are coming to school with more emotional challenges than ever before. Sometimes this leads to disruptions in the classroom that can be best handled if we had an adequate number of staff trained in this area.
As a former Local and Federal Law Enforcement Officer I certainly take the safety of our students and staff seriously. When I was serving on the Lakota School Board we collectively decided to invest more resources in school safety. Hiring more Resource Officers was only one factor that has contributed to a safer environment. Our community supported us with money to add safe and secure entrances to our buildings. Systems were implemented by building administrators to identify possible threats before they became problems. Lakota has developed a culture of awareness and safety that is built on teamwork at all levels.
I would love to see us offer more foreign language instruction. If our resources would allow. I would love to see us develop a language learning tract that would be built on the magnet school concept. Those students with the desire would be assigned to a building with a purpose of being immersed in 2 or three languages. Upon graduation, their diploma would reflect a special honors designation of the highest level.
Use the feedback loop concept. This involves teachers and students simultaneously collecting and analyzing student learning information to determine where students are and where they need improvement. Students’ movement from one learning target to another works best when students receive feedback to help them improve. Students rely on feedback and, without it, their chance for remaining engaged learners spirals downward.
Anyone making a choice like that is asking for problems. We need lower class sizes and we need more support staff to help with mental health issues period! It is not an either/or situation. We either commit to solving these issue or slowly watch our staff run themselves into the ground.
I have lived in the Lakota school District for close to 30 years. I have served on the Lakota School board from 2009 until 2017. I have been a citizen of this district and have 3 children that graduated from Lakota. My kids have known no other schools but Lakota. I sponsor many after school clubs and hold a seat on many organizations that support Lakota kids. I am a Board Member of the Community Foundation and chair the student scholarship committee. Each year we award over $90,000 in scholarships to kids in our community, as well as awarding the Lakota Teacher of the year award. The business that I own donates thousands to after school clubs that support our kids. You can trust me Lakota, “I am one of you.”
Experience * Current Lakota Board of Education Member for 12 years (Dec. 2019) * Current Butler Tech Board of Education Member for 8 years (Dec. 2019) * Legislative experience at local, state and federal level * Master Board Member, Woman of Excellence, Heroes of Character recognition * Service in many other community entities - Business Chamber, Scouting, BC Junior Achievement, BC United Way, WCL Community Foundation, School Safety Group, Innovative Schools Summit, and others * Small business owner
Education Master of Education (Special Education) / Bachelor Speech & Language Pathology
1. Supporting high student achievement while maintaining fiscal sustainability into the future 2. Innovation and continuous improvement in the classroom that prepares students to be future ready 3. Costly investments that need to be considered in the next 6 - 9 months: long term facilities plan to maintain & renovate district brick and mortar assets at preliminary estimated costs of 200 million dollars, and transportation challenges faced by families, particularly at the high school level, with preliminary annual costs of 2 - 5 million dollars

Each of these challenges must be weighed carefully and thoughtfully with all relevant data, long term financial forecasting, community feedback, and accountability measures to ensure the community receives a strong return on it's investment of taxpayer dollars.
As the veteran board member with nearly 12 years on Lakota's Board, I've experienced challenges as well as wins. The district was in financial distress, contentious labor relations, unfunded student growth, and distanced from key sectors of the community when I started. It was also performing well enough to receive the highest possible ranking by the state. Through hard decisions, budget reductions and reallocation of resources, the district has turned around to strong financial health. Having walked that difficult road, I see future challenges ahead and will fight hard to keep our district financially sound and high performing.

Additionally I have a Masters in Education, eight years on the Butler Tech BOE, investment across the community as a leader in several organizations, recognized as a Master Board Member, and committed to representing all of the Lakota community - families, businesses, seniors, veterans, homeschoolers to private schoolers - and our students and staff.
I believe in accountability and transparency. As a school system, Lakota must be accountable for the efficient and effective use of taxpayer dollars and must ensure high-quality student achievement with those resources.

That being said, state testing has been a flawed system. There have been multiple changes to testing measures in the last several years, and in my mind, an overemphasis on classroom time spent preparing for tests instead of instruction. Prior to the state setting up graduation requirements, local entities were the primary determiners of graduation passage. The graduation system has also undergone numerous changes in the past several years.

Both issues have resulted in districts struggling to ensure seniors would be able to graduate against ever-shifting requirements and teachers struggling to adjust teaching to shifting accountability measures. A return to local control in schools and a greater understanding of the major impact of state entities would be productive.
Number one priority is the active and welcomed involvement of the business community in our schools on an ongoing basis. Lakota and Butler Tech both have a substantial number of internship opportunities with local businesses. These offer students a chance to experience working at a trade or in a business environment, understanding employer expectations, time management, and other areas critical to successful employment.

It's also important that teachers understand workforce needs. The WCL Chamber and Lakota have set up a Teacher Leadership Academy allowing teachers to connect with businesses to better understand what students need to know.

I would grow these programs enabling more students to participate. I would initiate an "Adulting 101" class to include some of the soft skills employers have told me need to be strengthened - communication, time mgt., critical thinking, conflict resolution, leadership. The ability to pass a drug test is, sadly enough, lacking for many as well.
I believe some district leaders look at expenditures in a piecemeal fashion instead of a 'big picture' that looks at all ramifications. For example, if we make a large investment in one area without reallocating resources from another area, we have to remember we're dipping out of the same pot of money. The pot is finite and the practice is not sustainable over time without new funding. While schools are funded by local property taxes in Ohio, a cycle of levy after levy impacts your community and erodes support from residents and businesses alike.

Labor costs are the single biggest slice of the budget. I voted against the last teacher contract because it went beyond budgeted costs. I support reasonable increases for good performance from competent staff. I can't support salary increases that aren't sustainable, and that return the district sooner to a levy on the ballot. Delivering quality education while controlling costs is the most important thing I think we need to do.
As a current sitting board member, providing details in a public forum on what safety measures are currently in place could compromise the safety of our students and staff.

In general: - We're entrusted with the safety of our students. It's at the heart of every decision we make. - Mental health issues must be addressed, both in school and in the community. - I'm on the district safety committee. I've also been part of a community school safety summit. Together with fire, police, sheriff, medical, and other experts, we've made some significant changes to the Lakota system. - I believe stronger proactive training in emergency situations including medical triage and trauma care would save lives. - Although the thought of violence against children is abhorrent, it doesn't benefit anyone to take an ostrich approach and refuse to face the tragic reality of what has already occurred in other schools. I will consider any and all options available by law to protect students and staff.
I see value in bringing back cursive writing skills. I would support more in-depth American history and world history. I would bring in an 'Adulting 101' class that would be required for all students, entailing soft skills like communication, time and organizational management, critical thinking, financial literacy training, study skills, and life skills required to live independently.

I believe classes like wood working, mechanics and home economics are still good options for some students and should be taught, particularly with skill gaps in various trades becoming very evident.

As funds are available, I would strengthen current arts and music education.

On the innovative side, we know that ten years from now our students will be working in careers and jobs that haven't been created yet. Preparing them for a rapidly changing workplace is critical. Lakota and Butler Tech are regularly adding new programming in response to new career pathways, which I fully support.
Ensuring rigor in the curriculum while making learning engaging for students is a challenge I believe many districts are facing. I had the opportunity in partnership with one of our regions leading educational experts to initiate an 'Innovative Schools' group composed of high performing districts that meet regularly to discuss these types of issues. The educational system is a huge ship to turn away from an agrarian calendar, a standard school day, etc. Regulatory issues and mandates often serve as a barrier to new approaches.

Personalizing learning, innovative delivery models for instruction, strong professional development, wrap around services for some students, and adequate accountability measures are all important factors that impact student performance and important to improvement.
You've asked a question highlighting the dilemma all school boards face. Given finite resources balanced with the value in supporting students in all of these areas, each would need to be considered based on data relevant to each individual district. * Maintaining class sizes that allow teachers to interact with students, and provide help as needed supports higher student achievement. * Safety and security are critical as well and a key consideration in we do. School resource officers are a critical part of each building, not only dealing with safety issues but also proactively addressing potential issues. * Counselors, social workers, and mental therapists help students navigate personal issues, post graduation options, college, testing, etc. They may spot early behavioral health issues. Having faced this issue in the past as a board member, I know it's a hard call to make. We settled on a balance between all of these with the information we had and limited resources at hand.
My husband Terry and I moved to West Chester 28 years ago to raise our family. Terry is a 21 year Air Force veteran and flies as an international captain and instructor for Delta Air Lines. Our two sons have graduated from Lakota and Ohio State. We love living in the West Chester Liberty area and appreciate the opportunities we have here.

Vision, experience and leadership matter. I have a strong record to stand on and believe that quality education is a national priority regardless of political perspective. I'm passionate and dedicated as an elected official and community leader. I work hard to ensure that students are receiving what they need to be successful and that our taxpayers voice is heard at the decision-making table. I will continue to fight for fiscally responsible and sustainable practices, and for innovative education that prepares students for whatever future endeavors they choose. I respectfully ask for your vote. Thank you for taking the time to become informed.
Experience -21 years of experience in finance and employee benefit sales to corporate clients -8 years on the Lakota Board of Education, 3 years as president and one as vice-president -Long time active volunteer in Lakota and the community -Marketing Team member, West Chester Liberty Chamber Alliance
Education B.A. in Economics Colby College, 7 classes towards M.B.A. Univ. of Southern Maine
Twitter @julie__shaffer
Lakota's three greatest challenges are how do we create a curriculum that keeps ahead of the rapidly changing opportunities our graduates will have, while still growing social/emotional skills and being fiscally responsible. The world is changing at an accelerated rate. We have to stay ahead of the curve. Hiring a superintendent that was one of the top 20 to watch nationally has helped us reinvigorate the learning environment. We are now part of the League of Innovative Schools (114 schools nationally). This allows us access to cutting edge resources. We are creating real world learning opportunities, and changing to project based learning instead of memorization. We have partnered w/ MindPeace to provide in house counseling to meet social/emotional learning. In addition, we now embed this learning into the curriculum, taking the first two days of school to focus on relationship building. Our award winning treasurer is future focused and looks to reallocate $ most effectively.
I have 21 years of experience in the finance and employee benefits sales arena and 8 years of experience governing Lakota. I have been an active volunteer in Lakota Schools since moving here 15 years ago, filling roles such as event chairs to PTO President to District Parent Council Treasurer. I have received the district volunteer spirit award at both the school and district level. I used my background in Economics and Finance to learn about school funding and presented School Funding 101 dozens of times to area organizations with three other parents. I am actively involved in the West Chester Liberty Chamber Alliance. I have a focus on student success, and understand what is happening in the schools. I am the only candidate with a student still enrolled in Lakota, and also have two recent graduates. Being able to see first hand how our policies impact families, combined with my extensive business background, makes me uniquely qualified for the role.
The state continues to make a moving target of both state testing and graduation requirements. While I believe in accountability, I do not believe the current tests capture the skills and abilities that our community continues to tell us they want in a graduate. When a state report card assumes anyone who didn't take an ACT/SAT has failed that test, at the same time we are trying to encourage kids to follow the 4 E's of enlistment, entrepreneurship, employment or enrollment, the system is broken.
We continue to put resources towards getting every graduate an internship. Providing real world opportunities for students to see and hear directly from employers what they are looking for is invaluable to their future. We have staff who are developing curriculum that teaches students real life applications, such as personal finance. Our partnership with Butler Tech allows students to expand their field of study into various specialties. Finally, our focus on social/emotional learning is assisting students in realizing the importance of all of the soft skills employers are looking for in reliable employees.
I believe the Lakota team has done an excellent job managing the finances in a fiscally responsible way. We are spending less in 2018 than we did in 2010. We have looked for ways to expand programs in a cost effective way, such as bringing back specials (art, music, PE, etc.) and providing all day kindergarten at the elementary levels. To help offset the increase in staff needed, many teachers on special assignment were placed back in the classroom. One area of investment that we have been considering is bringing back transportation to our freshman. Based on our current information and $100M+ cash surplus, I would support this investment.
We have made great strides in student safety while I have been on the Board. Our entire Board sits on the safety committee, and some of us have been able to attend additional training on safety at various summits. We now have a school resource officer funded at every campus. We have created safe and secure entrances at all of the buildings, We have now added barricades for all the classroom doors in every building, and are continuing to update security cameras. We have trained our staff, and this work is ongoing. We continue to monitor our safety plan. While this work is never done and we make regular changes, I believe we have made our schools significantly safer while I have been on the Board.
I would like to see an expansion of our AP and Honor classes for the visual and performing arts. Programs like the Cyber Academy that we just started as a partnership with local businesses create wonderful opportunities for our students. They will be able to graduate with industry credentials, with the possibility of earning greater than $65,000 immediately, allowing them to choose whether to continue to college or start working directly. I would like to expand specialty, cutting edge programs like this. For our junior high students, I would like to see an expanded course offering where they can explore more areas of interest, perhaps even allowing some quarter long classes.
With easy access to data now in the palm of our hands, transitioning to learning that involves problem solving and critical thinking will be essential. While there were some early adapters, we are just now bringing more staff on board with project based and real world learning. I think this will help students retain knowledge. The jobs our kindergartners are preparing for haven't even been invented. We need to stay ahead of this curve. Another tool that I think is effective in some class settings is the flipped classroom where students access lessons online and work one on one or in small groups in class. Finally, we need to make sure we are supporting our staff in being prepared to help our students with their social/emotional needs. A student cannot learn if they are focused on areas other than their academics.
Choosing between teachers and the other professionals noted is a very challenging balance. We have made investments in school resource officers. While I think we could use the assistance of more counselors/social workers/mental-health therapists, I would like us to be able to expand assistance in these areas through partnerships like we are currently doing through MindPeace and with our community liaisons. given the choice, I'd like to see us focus resources on managing class sizes so our staff can create better relationships with students and meet their needs in the classroom. As our students bring more complex challenges into the classroom every year, we need to make sure the entire team has the tools they need to succeed.
I will make every decision putting our students best interest first, and look for creative ways to find a solution. We have a tremendous administrative team in our superintendent and treasurer. We have made great strides while I have been on the Board in strengthening the financial position of the District, accumulating cash on hand in excess of $100M, the top 1% in the state. We have done this while rebuilding the Lakota brand, becoming a destination district again. As the only candidate with a student still in Lakota, I have a vested interest in maintaining this momentum, and keeping Lakota strong and focused on the future. I would appreciate your trust in voting for me November 5.