PITSBURG — Community members, students and staff gathered at Franklin-Monroe Local School Wednesday evening to meet the candidates seeking to serve on the school board.
Four out of the five seats on the school board are up for election this year, thanks to an unexpired term to be filled. Normally, the four-year terms are filled with elections for either two or three of the seats on a biennial basis.
Six candidates are seeking to join the board, with four vying for the three full-term seats and two contending for the half-term opening. Only one currently serves on the board and is seeking to retain his seat.
Seeking election to one of the three full-term seats are Dean T. Thompson (incumbent), Amanda L. Morris, Alexander Staton and Teresa Wolf.
Claudette Cool Diceanu and Rick L. Filbrun are running to fill the unexpired term.
Thompson has been on the school board for several years and is a lifelong resident of the district. His parents and children graduated of Franklin-Monroe, and he has grandchildren who attend now.
“There’s no place like Franklin-Monroe,” Thompson said. “I like to think that we are a great class act in the state of Ohio.”
Morris is a third-generation FM graduate with three daughters in school now.
“I bleed blue,” Morris said, adding that she converted her husband, an Arcanum alumnus, to a Jet. “I just want to continue the great traditions that everybody has here at FM.”
Staton is a senior at Miami University who graduated from Franklin-Monroe and said as a recent graduate of the school, he brings a different perspective.
“This community has given us all a lot,” Staton said, praising the community’s concern and support for the future of the school.
Wolf has two children in the district and said she is running to give back to the community that showed her so much support over the years.
“I think the best thing about Franklin-Monroe is the community, the environment and the way people hold themselves to higher standards here.”
Diceanu has five children, including one who already has graduated and her youngest, who is 2. She is a third-generation graduate of the Franklin-Monroe School District.
“Jet blue is near and dear to my heart,” Diceanu said. “The legacy of Franklin-Monroe is very important to me.”
Filbrun said he has three children in the district and was himself a graduate of Franklin-Monroe.
“It’s just a great community,” Filbrun said. “When I came here it was a small farming community, and we still have that today.”
The candidates all agreed that the families and community are the most positive aspect of the district, with student retention considered to be one of the biggest challenges.
Limited class options was cited as a major contributor to the student retention problem, and Filbrun also mentioned sports.
Thompson noted that efforts are ongoing to boost student retention, but any initiatives take time to implement and to have an effect.