Candidates for the Urbana City Schools board all cite a desire to create the best new buildings for students and improve the educational outcomes for those students.
School board incumbents Jan Engle and Warren Stevens and newcomer Toby Taylor seek to fill two seats on the board.
Engle, 60, of Urbana, has been on the board for eight years. He is a Bellefontaine High School graduate and owner of Eastman’s Lawn & Landscape Services in Urbana. He is a member of the Urbana Optimists Club, and he wants to “finish out what we got started as far as the schools.
“I still have the time and ability to be involved and keep the vision for the public” of new schools that improve education for students, he said.
Stevens, 74, of Urbana, is a retired Honda employee. He graduated from Urbana High School in 1959 and received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Ohio State University. He has been on the school board and the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center school board for the past 12 years. He is also a member of the Ohio School Boards Association Board of Trustees.
“I believe PK-12 education is the most important training that we as a community can provide for our young people,” Stevens said. “My priorities in life are God, family and community. My community is very dear to my heart.”
Taylor, 45, of Urbana, is a graduate of both Urbana City Schools and Urbana University. He is a licensed Real Estate Consultant for ReMax Leading Edge. He previously owned and operated a mortgage company and a construction company that oversaw several residential and commercial developments. He is a lifelong Urbana resident, married to Laurel, and has children Reid and Ella, who both attend Urbana City Schools.
“I feel the board needs a person with a fresh perspective,” Taylor said. “As we are approaching the construction of the new buildings, I feel my years of experience would be a valuable asset to the administration. As a parent with two children in the school system, I have an interest in preserving and improving the quality of the school system.”
Besides the construction of the schools, Engle said one of his goals is to ensure the construction is done on budget. He said he has seen school projects whose construction went over budget, resulting in administrators cutting back on features they wanted to include. Engle said his goal is to ensure the buildings are built without needing to sacrifice features the community and school personnel want.
Stevens said his goals include completing the school buildings project, keeping the district financially sound, and working toward improving academic ratings at the state level for the district.
Taylor said he would like to improve communications between the parents and school administration if elected.
“I am concerned that there is a disconnect between the board and the public. The community must have a voice and be involved,” he said. “I want to create a culture where the staff and teachers feel empowered and supported, while the community feels engaged and informed. I want people to be proud of the community they live in and hope it encourages others to reside here.”
The election is Nov. 3.
Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.