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.

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

Vote for 3

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  • Heather Hayes

  • Michael Kroeger

  • Candidate picture

    Andrew Schnell

  • Sean Van Winkle

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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?

Education BSN from Miami University
The three biggest challenges facing Ross Local Schools are to maximize the educational success of every student while being a good steward of the resident's tax dollars, to create an environment were every student can succeed whether they are college bound, vocational trade, farming or entering work force, and creating a setting in which all students can feel safe while at school. If elected, I will strive to ensure that every dollar spent by the school board is spent wisely. Our school districts in Ohio are being challenged with decreased state funding. I will review with the board our current spending, ways to improve our spending, and ways to reduce costs. I will work to foster relationships with our surrounding communities for our students for college bound student and vocational trades. I will work to continue to have ALICE events and safety training for our school staff and students. Will work with board to review current safety literature and research in regard to safety.
I have been advocate for children's health and safety for my nursing career. I have been a nurse for 20 years. I have participated in numerous councils and committees at a large local pediatric hospital during my employment. I am passionate about pediatric growth and development and can translate these skills to the educational system. I am proponent of academic enrichment, smaller class sizes, increase in educational opportunities for our students. I am proud resident and parent to two children in the district. I have developed relationships with teachers and support staff and want to continue to do so.
I am concerned that state testing forces teachers to focus on test scores instead of using their experience and training as teachers to teach our children in a way that increases actual learning that would be applicable in the real world.

I like that RHS has different types of diplomas that are tailored to various types of student interests. A student has a choice to earn an Academic Honors, Career Tech Honors, STEM Honors, Arts Honors, or a Social Science and Civic Engagement Diploma. These options allow each student to customize their own academic path to prepare for their life after graduation.
I will seek out-of-the-box ways to prepare each student for life in the workforce. In addition to traditional academic learning our students need to learn how to use technology, to learn personal finance skills, to develop interpersonal communications skills, to learn personal responsibility, and develop problem solving skills.

We should reach out to local business leaders, public employers, and community leaders to get them involved in the education of our students. They could help us develop ideas on how to prepare our students for future success after graduation.
I am concerned with fiscal responsibility and will work with board to review current spending and projected future budgeting. I know that our community brags about spending fewer dollars per pupil while having some of the highest academic honors in the county. I would like to review to ensure we are spending adequately for each student. I am a proponent of teacher enrichment and continued education as academic needs are ever evolving.
The recent addition of School Resource Officers in both the High School and the Middle School as well as two school security officers is a step in the right direction. In addition to having well trained and armed police officers and retired police officers as a deterrent to outside threats, the officers could respond immediately to any situation occurring inside the building that requires police intervention.

Additionally, having the officers in the building allows students to interact with officers in a way that makes them feel comfortable around the officers. I am aware that students will often disclose abuse and neglect to School Resource Officers. This is another important way to keep our students safe.
If elected I would review this issue with our board and with our administrators to review current student requests and teacher feedback. I would like to see at the high school more flexibility with scheduling particularly with AP classes. Students are limited with their schedules due to the few AP classes that are offered at the high school. I would like to be more competitive with other districts that are able to offer more AP classes. We currently have a great relationship with Butler Tech and I will continue to foster our relationship for our students.
Ross Schools district's current gift program and IEP program needs to be reviewed to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our students. I would like to see a larger and dedicated talented and gifted program in the Middle School, if not also in the elementary schools. Currently our district has a gifted coordinator and there are gifted enrichment for students. These programs provide gifted students with a more challenging curriculum while being in a mixed ability classroom. I believe we can do more for our students. In additional, I would like to add more gifted enrichment programs for students during school hours versus our district's after school hours enrichment activities. I am also interested in student IEPs and the intervention specialist within our schools. I will work with the board to review our current standards for intervention specialist and how staff communicate with these specialist and the teachers. I want to ensure that students are getting their needs met.
I think all of these issues are important. I feel that our school counselors and school resource officers are extremely important to a success district. Since I must choose only one, I would like to maintain a lower student to teacher ratio. This would allow each student to have more individualized time with the teachers to ensure academic success. Smaller class sizes and reduced student/teacher ratios have been shown to increase academic performance.
Six years ago my husband and I moved from another Butler County school district to Ross so are two children could attend Ross Schools. We had several friends and co-workers who lived in the district and always spoke very highly about the schools. Since then we have learned that all of them were absolutely correct....Ross is a great place to raise a family and a great place to send your children to school. The school district is big enough to offer students a lot of options, but small enough that it has a small town feel. Our son and daughter are proud when they tell their friends that they go to Ross schools. They love their teachers and support staff. They have made great friends. I want to serve on the Ross Local Schools Board to do my part to ensure that the Ross Schools perform at a high academic level.
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Experience I am a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and spent my 17+ year career as an accountant at a Cincinnati area Fortune 500 company. I have had many roles and responsibilities during that time and now lead the department responsible for the analysis and financial reporting of our core business.
Education Bachelors of Science in Business with majors in Accounting and Finance from Miami University Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Xavier University
1) The district faces threats of decreasing state funding and increasing enrollment. 2) Serving the needs of all students within the district. The district needs to continue to improve special needs programs such as IEPs, and increase gifted education opportunities. We need to provide our teachers with the proper resources to help manage the diverse needs of our student body. 3) Providing a well-rounded education with access to current technology, art, music, athletic and extra-curricular programs. Studies show the positive impact participation in these activities have on children’s lives and promote parental and community involvement.

All of these challenges need to be dealt with through responsible management of our financial resources to best serve our students. If resources are not carefully managed, the quality of education and school experience provided will decline. My goal is to not only prevent deterioration but create an environment of continual improvement and growth.
My experience and education has been focused on performing financial analysis to help make well informed, sound financial decisions. I am heavily involved in the annual budgeting process for a Fortune 500 company, including analyzing budget versus actual results. I am responsible for product cost and profitability analyses, review and analyze expense proposals and cost benefit analyses and regularly manage projects. I believe this experience is vital to ensuring the Ross district properly manages funds into the future. The challenges Ross schools are facing are all dependent on proper financial management and I believe I have the experience and knowledge to help lead the district through continued growth by ensuring fiscal responsibility.
State testing is important to set standards and provide information for parents and district residents to understand how well a district is educating students. That said, focused measurement does not tell the entire story and can lead to propped up statistics that do not tell the full story. Too much emphasis on improving measured statistics can lead to deterioration in areas not emphasized and measured. I believe the board should encourage continuous improvement in state testing, but not at all costs.
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My top priority if elected is to understand the current budgeting process and examine how the district’s funds are allocated and spent. My experience tells me that a fresh look at these processes will reveal cost savings and could uncover unnecessary spending. I will work closely with the Treasurer to understand the financial processes, systems and analysis that are in place and offer assistance in areas that need improvement and examine areas which could be streamlined. I will review the sourcing and timing of funding as compared to spending. I will examine areas where vendor selection and vendor consolidation can provide cost savings. Providing our students a quality, well rounded education is extremely important to me, and I want to ensure that is done to the best of our ability by maximizing the resources available to us.
I do believe Ross does a good job of providing a safe learning environment.
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Ross students have a diverse set of educational needs so continuing to evaluate and improve special needs programs such as IEPs, and gifted education can improve academic performance of the overall student body. Success will require ensuring we provide our teachers with the proper resources to properly manage those programs.
I don't believe that is a question that can be answered broadly. Each individual school or grade level should be examined closely to understand the needs and determine the best course of action rather than simply stating one solution is appropriate across the board.
Public schooling has always been important to my wife and I, as we both are products of public schools in the Cincinnati area. I am the product of two teachers. My father spent his career working with special needs children and adults, and my mother recently retired after over 40 years of teaching. At a young age, they instilled in me the importance of public education and that everyone deserved the opportunity to learn and better themselves. I have two children in Ross schools and they are a big motivation for me to run for the school board. I want to ensure they receive a well-rounded education and school experience ingrained in the local community. The Ross School District is going to be an integral part of all of their future achievements.
Education Hondros College- Real Estate
An inequitable funding formula, too much "top down" control from the state, and the growing shortage of high quality teaching candidates, especially in specialized content areas. These are obviously long term systemic issues that need to be addressed at a multitude of levels. First, pushing our state legislature to continue their work on school funding through initiatives like Cupp-Patterson needs to be a priority for all Districts. Also, advocating for more local level control and eliminating the one size fits all mentality that Ohio uses to evaluate school effectiveness. What's appropriate for our District, may not be for others and we should have the flexibility at the local level to help determine that. Lastly, I want to continue to help Ross be a destination District where teachers want to be. We have to continue to work with the state to find creative solutions around the often rigid licensure laws, to ensure that those who are passionate about teaching are able to do so.
I believe my demonstrated commitment to this community and our schools as a student, employee, coach, parent and now Board of Education member speaks volumes about how invested I am in the Ross Local School District. Having served on the Board of Education since 2016, I'm proud of the accomplishments of the District and feel I've served the vision and values of this community well. My experience of having grown up in this community, and now living here as a parent and business owner, gives me a unique perspective. It helps me balance the difficult task of preserving our history while moving our District forward to provide a top notch 21st century education for our students.
I think the state of Ohio has struggled to find the balance between what we know is best for kids in terms of how they learn and what the true purpose of school should be, and, how to "measure" those things and create accountability. What we have right now is a flawed system that places too much emphasis on the snapshot of time that occurs at a state test. We need to come up with smart competency standards in core subject areas that prepare kids for their future goals, while also giving them the freedom and flexibility to find and pursue their passions and purpose. Whether that's related to Math/Science, Art/Music or even Video Game design. Our world has and is changing rapidly, and our education system has not kept up. Graduation requirements are much the same. We're forcing schools to deal with 3 different sets of rules for 4 classes of kids. Kids and Communities are different. I will continue to fight for more local control of graduation requirements.
The recent re-emphasis on career technical education, skilled trades and career readiness is a good thing for our schools and economy. Continuing to provide opportunities and pathways for students to pursue that create job specific skills is something all Districts in Ohio should make a priority. I'm proud of the partnerships we've formed with Butler Tech to provide these opportunities for our students and we will make it a priority to continue to expand these types of programs to offer more choices to our students.
I'm fiscally conservative and feel that the Ross Local School District has done an excellent job in being good stewards of the communities' tax dollars. We're grateful that the community supported the passage of an earned income tax issue last May and will continue to earn the trust of our residents by being thoughtful in our spending. I'm proud of the fact that we've continually been one of the highest performing Districts in Butler County and the region while maintaining one of the lowest per pupil expenditures.
Ross Local Schools have been a leader in the region in school safety. From physical safety of buildings to student mental health and wellness, we've supported a number of new initiatives that are making a difference in the safety of our schools. As a Board member, I supported adding additional school resource and armed security officers for each of our buildings this year. We're now one of the few districts in our area with full time, armed personnel in each of our buildings daily.
Again, I think this goes back to student choice, voice and the true purpose of school. We're approaching 2020 and a "one size fits all" education system isn't going to prepare students for the jobs and challenges of the 21st century and beyond. Continuing to use foundational educational concepts in Math, Science and Language Arts (among others) that allows students to tackle real word challenges is a concept that's often lost in our current system. Students need to see real world connections and build skills that prepare them to be productive citizens especially in the areas of personal finance.
Allowing students to own their education and have more choice would greatly impact academic performance. The current system is far too prescribed to allow students to freely choose their own path. "Requiring" all students to complete the same amount of credits in subject areas regardless of choice and interest level isn't what's best for kids. It's the old adage, if you only judge a fish's ability to climb a tree, it will live its entire life believing it's a failure. Many students feel this way in school every day. Student with artistic talents, musical talents with skills in design and problem solving aren't necessarily going to perform well in Math, Science and other standardized tests and vice versa. We need to change the idea of school, starting with giving more control back to the local level.
Without a doubt increasing the number of regular classroom teachers. Not that providing support services isn't an important function, however, I believe that schools have reached a tipping point of becoming more social service agency and less educational institution. Studies have shown time and time again that low class sizes and teacher quality are vitally important to student achievement.
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