Dayton voters will decide the Dayton School Board race on Election Day, with four candidates vying for three open seats. The contest comes at a pivotal time for the school district.
To the relief of some district officials, Dayton Public Schools avoided state takeover this year.
The accomplishment came after two years of major systemic changes for the district, including teacher pay increases and a school leadership overhaul.
At a recent forum, school board candidates were quick to mention the improved state report card.
“We understand that we've moved up from an F to this D, but we also have to look at it and say, what are we doing to make sure we don't fall again?,” said candidate Will Smith, a community activist and DPS parent.
Smith is one of two DPS graduates vying for a seat on the board this year.
The other, Dion Sampson, Jr., describes himself as a community servant with 25 years of education experience.
Candidate Gabriella Pickett is an international education director whose children graduated from DPS.
Candidate Joe Lacey served 12 years on the DPS board before losing a re-election bid in 2017. Lacey is an accountant whose children also attend schools in the district.
Read detailed candidate bios at the The League of Women Voters of the Greater Dayton Area Voters Guide.
All candidates agree that smaller class sizes and increased teacher support should be priorities for the district.
Sampson, Smith, and Pickett say resources should be distributed more evenly among schools.
“The only diversity that is not acceptable in my mind is diversity of the quality of our education and our schools. All schools should be the same whether they're in the east side or the west side,” Lacey said, adding the district should also focus on maintaining leadership stability.
Building principals have changed in the majority of DPS schools in the last two years.
Current board members John McManus, Sheila Taylor, and Robert Walker all elected not to run for additional terms. They’ll remain on the board through the end of the year.
New members elected on Tuesday will take over in January.
Polls are open on Election Day from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. To find your polling location, use the Ohio Secretary of State's Polling Location Finder.