By Harold Gwin
Two of the three incumbents in the Youngstown city schools were ousted by voters.
YOUNGSTOWN — Tuesday was a tough night for school board incumbents in Mahoning County.
Unofficial returns from the board of elections showed that two of three seeking re-election to the Youngstown Board of Education were defeated, as was the lone incumbent seeking re-election in Austintown.
One incumbent in Canfield, one in Boardman and two in Poland lost their seats as well.
In Youngstown, political newcomers Andrea Mahone and Rachel Hanni were the top vote-getters.
Incumbent Lock P. Beachum Sr. was re-elected to a fourth-term on the city board, finishing third at the polls. Incumbents Jacqueline Taylor, who was seeking a third term, and Dominic Modarelli, who was running for a second term, were defeated.
Mahone said she believes people are looking for change, something new and some fresh ideas. She said she’s excited about that but realizes that with the election comes a huge responsibility.
Youngstown has good programs and needs to market itself more effectively as it strives to move the system forward, she said.
Hanni and Taylor couldn’t be reached for comment.
“I just think the voters are looking for change,” Modarelli said, adding that he thinks the district’s drop back into academic emergency on this year’s state report card probably hurt him as a incumbent. His strong stand for accountability on the part of the district administration may have also worked against him, he said.
“The cards fall where they may,” Modarelli said, adding that he hopes the new board is able to move the district in the right direction.
In Austintown, school board President Richard R. Zimmermann finished fourth in a race for three open seats and was denied a second term.
”You can’t change what the people say,” he said.
Zimmermann was a supporter of the proposed 2.4-mill bond issue and 0.5-mill tax levy also defeated by Austintown voters. He said he will continue to support the bond issue plan to build two new schools in the district.
In Canfield, newcomer Craig Olson led the voting to fill three seats. Incumbents Adrianne Sturm and Brain Kesner finished second and third, respectively, but incumbent Barry Tancer lost his re-election bid.
Olson said he doesn’t believe his victory was a statement calling for change. Canfield has an excellent system now and people want to see it stay the best, he said. He said he ran on a platform of open communications and a guarantee that average students should get the same opportunities as above-average students.
Olson said he’s put four of his children through the Canfield schools and has three more to go. He’s always been very involved in the schools, he said.
Sturm said she thinks the people of Canfield recognize her devotion to the students. She serves as the school board’s legislative liaison and it is important for local voices to be heard at the state and federal levels, she said, making reference to what she called the “state funding crisis” for public schools. In Boardman, incumbent Niklaus Amstutz narrowly lost his re-election bid. Incumbents Kimberly Poma and Mark Fulks won re-election. Newcomer John Landers took the third board seat.
In Poland, incumbents Frank DiVito and Laura Stacy both lost their re-election bids. Newcomers Larry Dinopoulos and Richard Beau Weaver took the two open seats.