Race On For Lone Nelsonville Schools Seat

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NELSONVILLE — Out of the three incumbent candidates for the Nelsonville-York City Schools Board of Education, only two will get to keep their seats.

It’s an interesting situation that makes for an interesting race, one unlike any of the other current school board races in Athens County.

The seats of Board President Micah Covert and members Justin Booth, Gary Edwards and Daniel McDonald are all set to expire at the end of 2017. McDonald, who was appointed to the board in 2016, is not running to keep his seat.

Theoretically, all three remaining incumbents could gain a spot back on the board with the addition of a new member, but one of the three would have to run for a two-year seat rather than a four-year seat. All three chose to run for the two remaining four-year terms.

Normally all seats on a school board are four-year terms, but when a member resigns, the remaining members appoint someone to temporarily fill that position. In this case, the seat is up for election this year to fill out the “unexpired term” and will be back up for re-election as normal in 2019.

Both Covert’s and Edwards’ seats were four-year terms. Booth, who like McDonald was also appointed in 2016, is running for one of the two available four-year terms, which leaves the other two-year term up for grabs.

Tanyah Stone, a new candidate, is running for one of the two two-year seats, but no other candidate filed to run for the other two-year term. Instead, that remaining seat will likely go to write-in candidate Andrea Conner.

Edwards called it a “unique situation” during a forum on Monday evening. In retrospect, he said one of the three incumbent candidates should have run for the other two-year term.

Though it is unfortunate as the three candidates are good friends who have worked together on the board, Edwards said it is also exciting because the board will welcome two new women in 2018. The board is currently made of up five men.

And though all three would like to be re-elected, they have agreed not to campaign against each other.

“You can’t go wrong,” Edwards said.

Booth said both Covert and Edwards have been influential to his position as a board member.

“They showed me what the role of the board is,” he said.

Covert was first elected in 2010 and Edwards has served intermittent terms since 2000.

Booth said one of the most significant accomplishments the board has made during his time as a member was implementing art classes back into the elementary school. Something he would like to see for the district’s future is the addition of a field house to maximize space for sports and the marching band.

Like Edwards, Booth doesn’t seem worried about the outcome.

“I have zero issues,” he said. “These guys are great board members.”

Covert is happy with where the board and the district currently stand. Right now he said the board’s focus is maintaining the infrastructure of the school and making upgrades wherever needed, such as replacing heating units and boilers and upgrading the district’s website.

“We have a good board right now,” Covert said. “I’m very pleased with where we are.”

Edwards said the next biggest challenge for the board is finding someone to replace current Supt. Mick McClelland, which likely won’t need to happen until 2019.


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