Note: This story appears in the Friday, Oct. 4 newspaper on Page A3.
STEWART — Two Federal Hocking school board members made their cases for re-election, while a challenger offered reasons why she should make it on the board.
Daniel Torrence, William Elasky and Stephanie Wilson — vying for two available seats — spoke with voters Tuesday evening inside the high school library. The candidate forum, hosted by the League of Women Voters of Athens County, gave these candidates a chance to meet with area residents and answer questions in a casual, intimate setting.
Two candidates for Rome Twp. Trustee also participated: Gary Tino McVey and John Young, Jr. The Messenger sent them (and all other trustee candidates around Athens County) a mailed questionnaire and will feature these candidates in a subsequent article.
Torrence and Elasky are the two incumbents. In his opening statement, Torrence highlighted his 12 years on the school board and involvement with the athletic boosters. He described being proud of recent projects like building a new field house and installing a solar array on the school’s roof.
Torrence said the board is pleased with its hiring of new Federal Hocking Supt. David Hanning and that he personally is glad the district is in better financial shape.
Elasky taught at Federal Hocking for 30 years and is now retired. He’s also been involved in a program linking Ohio University education students with Lancer teachers, as well as the local Kid Run adventure club.
Elasky said his goal was to remain on the board and maintain fiscally conservative policies to keep the district in sound financial shape.
Wilson, the lone challenger, works as the deputy auditor for the city of Nelsonville. She has one son who already graduated from the district and another who is an upper-classman at FHHS.
Wilson told those present that an unspecified incident that occured while her oldest son was in school prompted her to want to be on the school board and affect positive change. She described bullying as a serious problem, one that school board members should step in to help with if teachers and other building officials do not handle it.
Another of Wilson’s priorities is encouraging changes to the school curriculum, particularly to teach more “life skills” to Lancer students.
She also said her experience working for the Nelsonville city auditor’s office would help in managing the district budget.
Candidates moved from table to table in the library, meeting one-on-one with voters. This often led to some exchanging of ideas.
In one such instance, a woman asked Elasky of ways the district communicates with local residents. He told her of the district newsletter and of the high school student newspaper. She asked if the district would place information on the post office’s bulletin board, and Elasky said he would look into doing so.
Speaking about Wilson’s suggestion of teaching life skills in the schools, fellow candidate Torrence noted officials from OU Credit Union do provide lessons to students on financial literacy. He also pointed to the district’s burgeoning internship program, in which the high school partners with local businesses for students to gain work experience.
A video of the three candidates’ opening statements is available on the “Federal Hocking Local Schools” Facebook page.