SIDNEY — Five candidates, which includes two incumbents and three newcomers, are seeking election to the two seats on the Sidney City School District’s Board of Education. Voters will go to the polls Nov. 2 to decide who will serve on the board for the next four years.
Seeking seats are incumbents Linda Meininger and Jason Schaffner and newcomers Zach Bosslet, Greg Dickman and Douglas Jackson.
The Sidney Daily News sent questions to each candidate. One candidate — in alphabetical order — will be profiled daily for the next five days in the newspaper.
Jason Schaffner, of Sidney, is completing his first term on the board of education. He is a 1987 graduate Hardin-Houston Local Schools. He has been married for 10 years to Tracey (DeLuke) and has two stepdaughters. Alix, 21, who is in the United States Army ,and Jenna, 17, who is a senior at Sidney High School.
He is employed by Bulk Transit Corporation as a truck driver and is the Franklin Township zoning officer.
Why are you running for Sidney City Schools Board of Education?
“That is a good question. I run so that the taxpayer of the district has a voice with their money. An ear for someone to bend. I run because I want to see this school grow, bigger and better than it ever has before. I also run because I love what I do. I love being the public servant that can help the people that are in most need of help.”
Why do you feel you’re the best candidate to serve on the board?
“I have eight years board experience in two different districts. I know how schools run and I know how much you can do, and you cannot do. I am easy to access if you need to call with a problem or concern. I listen to each, and every concern and I do my best to resolve any issue’s you may have.”
How do you address the concerns about the aging buildings in the district?
“Currently our school buildings are not in too bad of shape. We got some money from the state and put air conditioning is some of the buildings. Hopefully we can get some more and get all buildings that way. School building improvements and repair are always costly. Wish list would be to build a new building at Northwood to improve traffic and ad more space. Reality is that probably won’t happen any time soon.”
Funding for the district is always concern since state funding changes from year to year. How do you bring new money/funding to the district?
“About the only way to bring new money in is through tax levy. No one wants that and I don’t blame them. We just recently pass an income tax levy so we should be good for the next 10 to 12 years. But we can only hope the state gives back the money they keep taking away. Property tax reevaluations will help with some new money, and new housing will help a lot.”
What are the strengths of the district?
“Our strengths is our positive community. Those people that are willing to listen, and always willing to step up and go the extra mile for the kids and the school. Those that donate the school supplies and their time to make this school the best in Shelby County. It takes a community to raise a child. A positive community accepts change and is willing to wait to see the results. Good or bad.”
What are the weaknesses of the district? How do you improve the weaknesses?
“Our weakness is the negative community. Those people no matter how hard you try, will always have something against the school. Sometimes people feed off that negative energy and its not healthy for a school or a community. The way to fight weakness is with positive change. Show the negative people the positive that is happening. Keep those people informed on what matters to them the most.”
How can you improve communication with school district residents?
“With the ever-changing times, it’s hard to keep up with how people get their news. The best way, and it’s not always the best, is through social media. As the people turn away from television and newspaper, social media like twitter, Facebook and Instagram seems to be the way to go.”
Bullying is a topic of concern for parents of students in the school district? How do you feel the problem should be addressed and handled?
“Bullying is a big problem. Students need to go to their teacher or principal first and foremost. Second the parents need to be involved and seek answers from the school. At some point you don’t get anywhere, seek a board member. Don’t post it on social media, that just creates bigger problems. I have solved several cases where I seen it on Facebook and reached out to the parent and helped them out. No problem is to small or big to solve. I do not care for bullies. And I feel if you get caught bullying, then expulsion from the school should be the answer. No tolerance.”
How do you think the district should be changed to improve its relationship with the community?
“The current district has made several changes so far to help improve communication. But what the school needs is communication from the parents to help it guide to a better communication process. Sidney City Schools is by far perfect, but we continuously strive to get better and better the best we know how.”
“It has been a great ride these last four years. I have seen many improvements across the board. Still, we have some more improving to go. That’s why I ask for your support this November so I can continue improving the school district. A school district you can be proud of. “