Community spoke out, Chesy school board winners say

Published 2:49 am Wednesday, November 4, 2009

CHESAPEAKE — The two top vote getters for Chesapeake school board look at their wins as a sign the times they should be a changin’ soon.

Dairy farmer Bill Pratt and AEP line crew supervisor Jerry Osborne together pulled in almost 75 percent of the vote Tuesday night.

Unofficial results have Pratt with 1,152 votes or just under 40 percent; Osborne came in second with 1,021 votes or an even 35 percent

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“I think the community had their voice,” Osborne said about his win. “That is what the election is about. The community spoke out on what they would like to see as far as changes. I think that spoke volumes as far as the returns.”

Osborne had consistently campaigned on correcting what he called a “disconnect” between the community and the school administration and board.

“It is obvious there have been some things in the school system people aren’t happy with. They didn’t feel they had a voice,” Osborne said. “Bill and I are like minded about our school system. It was a big effort to get the community involved in the school system. For being a low turnout to get those kinds of numbers the community really spoke out.”

Also on Tuesday’s ballot were 19-year-old Charles Sanders, a recent Chesapeake High graduate, and veteran Chesapeake councilman Kenneth Wolfe, who bypassed running for the village office to take a chance at getting on the school board.

Wolfe came in third with 490 votes or 16.8 percent of the total; Sanders pulled 254 votes or just under 9 percent.

It will be a couple of months before the two winners take their place on the board, but already Pratt has formulated part of his agenda as a new member of the school leadership.

“The first thing I want to do is change the wording of our mission statement to exclude (the phrase) ‘global citizen,’ “ he said.

Recently the school board adopted an extensive mission statement detailing what it sees as the long-term goals for Chesapeake students.

The statement came after more than a year of work by staff, the community and students.

“I think our mission statement completely leaves out our responsibility to create responsible citizens of the United States by bypassing the U.S.A. and going straight to global citizen, Pratt said. “We don’t really know if there is such as thing. We think it is more appropriate to concentrate on Ohio and the United States.”

He also wants to be a conduit between the community and the school district.

“It really to me is kind of humbling to see that that many people would vote for me,” Pratt said. “I was telling my wife, it appears the message the community has been trying to speak to the leadership of the school has now become a shout.”