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Five candidates in Springboro School Board Race attend community forum

Five candidates for Springboro School board seats sit at white tables set up at the altar in Springboro Baptist Church Sunday night. They were answering questions related to their campaigns and platforms.
Mawa Iqbal
/
WYSO
The five challenger candidates for three Springboro School Board seats answer questions about their platforms during a meet-and-greet event at the Springboro Baptist Church Sunday night. The event was organized by community members who wanted to learn more about who is running ahead of election day.

Eight candidates are running in a crowded field for three Springboro School Board seats. Community members hosted a forum Sunday night to get to know some of them better.

Recent Springboro City School Board meetings have been contentious, with arguments over masking and critical race theory. But on Sunday night, a board candidate meet-and-greet event at the Springboro Baptist Church was much more calm.

Dozens of attendees sat in the church’s pews, listening and taking notes as the candidates talked about building trust with the school board and parents again. They were given information packets about each candidate and notecards to write down questions.

There are five challengers vying for three seats. Dr. Shauna Acquavita, Frank Catrine, Jeff Paschke-Johannes, Brian Retterer and Olga Verbitsky all attended the event. The three incumbents, Charles Anderson, Daniel Gudz and David Stuckey, were not present.

The event was organized by community members in the hopes of better informing voters before election day, according to the event’s Facebook page. Each candidate was given two minutes to answer four questions, like what they feel the biggest issues in the district are.

Several candidates answered that a lack of transparency is a big issue, given the recent indictment of Superintendent David Schroer. He was indicted on 15 counts of theft and ethics-related offenses for taking funds from the district.

Two of the incumbents have been implicated in the scandal, something that long-time resident Angela Rahman says, made her question leadership.

“And then it just seemed like there was some shady stuff going on with the school board member that also did not show up,” Rahman said. “So that made me kind of start wanting to pay a little bit more closer attention to what was happening.”

The candidates at the event said they would like to bring the focus back to creating a safe environment for students to learn. Johannes-Paschke recalled a story he heard from a parent, where a Black student was told that she would never be as pretty as her white peers.

“This is the culture that needs to change,” Paschke-Johannes said. ”And one of the steps is to produce a program that's going to ask the school to support and advocate for students with regards to bullying related to racial or other marginalized attitudes.”

Election day will be on November 2. For more information on where and how to vote, visit the Montgomery County Board of Elections website.