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Position papers: Coventry Local Schools Board of Education

10/24/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

David Andrews (incumbent) vs. Chris Davis vs. Raymond Rose Sr. vs. Tom Thompson (incumbent) vs. Robert Wohlgamuth (incumbent) vs. Charles Zittle

Voters living in the Coventry Local School District will vote for three candidates for Coventry Local Schools Board of Education in the Nov. 5 General Election. The race is nonpartisan. The information provided below was submitted by the candidates, with their responses to our questions printed as submitted. Incumbent Tom Thompson and Charles Zittle did not respond to our request for information by the stated deadline.


David Andrews (incumbent)

Why are you running for re-election to the Coventry Local Schools Board of Education?

“I am seeking my fifth term on the board of education for several reasons. I would love to see the current renovation and building project to its completion. I believe that my knowledge and experience on the board will be very important as critical decisions are made concerning these issues. Additionally, I strongly believe that the best interests of our children should be the guideline for decisions of the board and I always consider that in every decision I make with the board. Additionally, with new state mandates such as common core curriculum, teacher evaluations and other changes, I believe it is critical that our district maintain a high level of experience on the board of education.”

What would be your top three priorities if you were re-elected? Why?

“My top three priorities would be as follows: 1. To maintain, develop and create the policies of the Coventry Local School district as mandated by the state. 2. I want us to continue the great improvements in the areas of curriculum development, technology, staff development, facilities improvements and fiscal responsibly. 3. I want to develop a better partnership with our community. Coventry Local Schools is a huge part of our community and we need more business and community partners to make the Coventry Comets shine even brighter.”


Chris Davis

Why are you running for a seat on the Coventry Local Schools Board of Education?

“I am running for Coventry’s Board of Education because I believe I can make a positive contribution to improve our schools and benefit all district students.

“I was first drawn into district politics last year when I attended a levy meeting to understand the ‘We want a red dot’ signs I’d noticed scattered throughout our community. No one seemed to know what they meant. Attending that first meeting introduced me to our current state of district affairs.

“I have two young children, one currently attending Coventry schools and one who soon will. A common sentiment I heard at levy meetings was ‘your/my kids will be the first to attend/graduate/benefit from a new high school.’ I have not heard similarly proud comments about the prospect of moving our youngest students into our current high school located on one of Coventry’s busiest streets. I would like to be a voice on the Board promoting long-term plans to ensure all our students have an opportunity to be taught in an optimal-learning environment.

“I also would like to ensure our students have the best opportunities to take advantage of advances in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Coventry has a fantastic STEM program for early-elementary students. As a member of the Board, I would like to work with teachers and administrators to champion resources and funding opportunities to continue and expand this program to reach older students.”

What would be your top three priorities if you were elected? Why?

“My top priorities upon taking office would be to (1) promote an optimal-learning environment for all students, (2) integrate district activities with our unique historical and ecological heritage, and (3) mend fences with district residents following years of divisive levy battles.

“As plans move forward to design a new high school, the long-term improvement of other schools has not received similar focus. For example, Turkeyfoot Elementary School has a three-acre playground. The play area proposed for K – 5th elementary students at the current high school is less than half an acre. Similarly, common sense, practical experience, and academic research demonstrate the importance of natural light for increasing student performance and productivity. The current high school has no classroom windows.

“Our district sits in a unique location with a direct connection to our Nation’s history. The Portage Lakes were constructed in the early 1800s to provide water to the Ohio and Erie Canal. They continue to provide an unprecedented opportunity for outdoor learning in both the arts and sciences. As a member of the Board, I would like to expand outdoor learning space, access to lake-front activities, and sustainable design.

“Finally, residents have battled in recent years to increase funding for Coventry schools. Mixed feelings remain. I would like an opportunity to talk with residents, as a Board member, and increase district-wide efforts to obtain outside funding to support tax-payer dollars.”


Raymond Rose Sr.

Why are you running for a seat on the Coventry Local Schools Board of Education?

“As a resident of the Coventry Local School District my entire life, I decided to run to provide residents the opportunity to ask questions and to provide the answers to many issues that are affecting this district. Residents have a right to ask questions and obtain thorough answers from our elected Board members and school appointees without being silenced or told their three minutes are up. District officials have an obligation to respect the differing views of residents and provide the answers to these questions.

“Our students deserve leadership that will be open and honest in communicating the needs of the district, without unwarranted threats and cuts to their education and extra-curricular activities because management has not made good decisions and spent tax dollars wisely. We are molding out children to be leaders of our future, and it is critical that they are led by good examples. What we watched in the May election by school employees condoned libel, slander and even vandalism because people challenged the decision and actions by this current administration.

“I will work to unify our community and address the disparity in funding in this district compared to other neighboring districts. In addition, the unconstitutionality of existing school funding through property taxation needs challenged at the state level, and we need to organize as a community to get this heard at the State level. Residents deserve leadership who will not become complacent once new levies are passed until these funding issues have been addressed.”

What would be your top three priorities if you were elected? Why?

  1. “I am running to ensure that the board has someone with the knowledge of how schools are built. I have been the Senior Mason Foreman on many schools built in this area. These schools opened on time, came in under budget and the floors didn’t vibrate.
  2. “An effective School Board member doesn’t ‘rubber stamp’ the Superintendent’s proposals, but takes the time to ask hard questions to assure our residents that decisions are evaluated and discussed for the best of our students and this district. I’ve attended over a dozen Board Meetings and Board members have never disagreed with the Superintendent. We have to stop putting money in the old, outdated buildings and sell them now. School officials have an obligation to stop the excessive spending on unwarranted expenses and utilize them as a business would in a cost effective manner.
  3. “There are still many unanswered questions about open enrollment and its impact on our children and residents. If elected, I will assure residents that these questions are fully answered and that a re-evaluation is undertaken. Coventry open enrolls 800+ students. It is Coventry’s residents who are burdened with the additional $3,100 cost for open enrollment students. I believe in open enrollment, but only to fill empty seats. It isn’t the taxpayers’ responsibility to provide the additional building space for these children too.”


Robert Wohlgamuth (incumbent)

Why are you running for re-election to the Coventry Local Schools Board of Education?

“I am running for re-election to the Coventry Board of Education so that I can see through to completion the renovation of our facilities and the construction of a new High School. As one who worked very hard for the passage of a bond/PI levy to renovate our schools I would like to continue to be involved in completing this project for this community and for the children of Coventry Schools. In addition to this, I want to continue working to keep our District Excellent with Distinction in order to provide the students the very best education in the area and in the State. I have a vested interest in this school system as a former graduate of Coventry Schools, plus 3 children who graduated from Coventry schools and now a granddaughter in first grade. I want to continue to fight for all the children of Coventry to provide them the very best education along with the very best learning environment available. I am one who is very proud of our community, schools, staff and students. I have been an advocate for children for many years and want to continue to fight for the very best for the children of Coventry Schools.”

What would be your top three priorities if you were re-elected? Why?

“My top three priorities would be to continue to work to keep our schools at the highest rated level in the State, to follow through with the renovation of Coventry Schools and construction of a new high school, and to continue to look for and fight for alternative revenues from the State and Federal levels.

“The Board has worked very hard with our Administration and Staff to insure we have a top rated school district (as graded by the State of Ohio), so that Coventry School’s students receive the very best education available. We must continue to work to maintain this high level of excellence in order to continue to offer a challenging and sound education that meets the criteria set forth by the State of Ohio.

“Our District has worked very hard over the years to pass a long needed Bond/PI levy to improve our facilities and take advantage of available funds from the State of Ohio. With this issue now behind us, I want to be a part of this renovation and construction of a new High School to insure that everyone’s voice is heard in upgrading our school facilities. It is very important that the community, staff and students have input to our new facilities and are kept up-to-date as construction and renovations begin to transform our school facilities.

“Third, we need to continue to seek out and support other revenue streams to generate money for our district rather than relying continuously on property tax.”

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