Sunday, September 17, 2017
By Billy Ludt
Two candidates running for Austintown Board of Education participated in a question-and-answer event Saturday afternoon at Upper Room Ministries, 4009 Elmwood Ave.
Meet Our Candidates Night, organized by political group Flip The Austintown School Board, saw candidates Robin Krempasky and David Daichendt fielding questions submitted to the group’s affiliated Facebook page and from the audience.
Flip The Board publicly supports Kempasky, Daichendt, Don Sherwood and Omar Jadue in the Nov. 7 election. The group is opposed to the current board members.
The candidates are vying for three open seats on the board.
Jadue and Sherwood declined to participate in Saturday’s event.
A hot topic among Austintown residents is the schools’ open-enrollment policy.
Daichendt and Krempasky echoed sentiments that they are not opposed to open enrollment, but would like to see it managed and regulated differently, including capping class sizes and moving back the enrollment cutoff date.
When open enrollment was implemented in 2009, April 30 was the cutoff. For this school year, it was one week before classes began in August.
“But when you have many open-enrollment students, your district begins to look different and act different,” Krempasky said.
The solution, she said, was gradually reducing the number of open-enrollment students. She added: “Do I believe we should kick out the open-enrollment students we have? Absolutely not.”
The school district gains $6,000 in state funding from each open-enrollment student at the school.
Another concern shared by the candidates is retaining students and teachers.
They said state-required testing and curriculum methods hinder teachers’ ability to properly teach students. Daichendt said this issue was why he decided to run for a seat.
“Generally, teachers don’t up and move if they’re happy,” Krempasky said.
State requirements, Daichendt said, should be a baseline in teaching, and the curriculum should expand from there to assist students in developing socially and forming a sense of responsibility serve them in jobs and college careers.