School board races set for November election

Authored by Jim Langham on Aug 27, 2012

A rush to file for school board seats prior to the Friday noon deadline set up some contests for the South Adams School Board election in November.
While Gresham Bearss had filed for the District 6 at-large seat earlier in the process, two other challengers entered the race when Amy Orr, currently representing the third district on the board, and Debra Gerber threw their names into the at-large contest.
The at-large seat opened up when Steve Dobler, who currently held the spot, decided not to seek another term.
One other South Adams race was set up when District 2 incumbent Arlene Amstutz was challenged by Cheryl Caffee. Other incumbents filing for South Adams board include incumbents Julie Mansfield in District 5 and John Buckingham in District 4.
In addition, the seat of Tony Mellencamp, which technically is scheduled to be up in 2014, could be vacated if Mellencamp is elected to the Adams County Council. Mellencamp noted that even if he is elected to the council, his seat would not be vacated until the end of the year, just prior to when he would take council seat at the beginning of the year.
At Adams Central, four board members filed for seats including incumbents Brian Tonner in District 1, Steve Bailey in District 5, John Sipe in District 6 and Mike Brown for the District 7 at-large seat.
At North Adams, six people have filed for the District 2 seat including Mark Bulmahn, Cassie Hammond, David Smith, Daniel Strickler, Jim Vogelwede Jr and Deb Bergman, an incumbent.
In addition, in North Adams District 1, three candidates will challenge incumbent Tim Ehlerding, those being Robert Thomas, Derek Vrablic and Al Converset.
Under new policy, all school board elections across Indiana would be moved to the November ballot under a bill that's gained final approval from the state legislation.
Locally, that choice was always made in the May primary.
The proposal would complete the practice of allowing local boards to decide whether to hold the non-partisan election during the May or the November elections, starting with the 2012 elections.
State statistics indicate that for the last year, 195 school boards were elected in May; 78 were elected in November and 15 were appointed. Those in favor of the change noted that having board elections in November would increase voter participation while those against the change argues it takes away local decision making.
"This is the first year that school board elections have occurred during the general election," South Adams School Superintendent Scott Litwiller had said earlier.
In most community school corporations, petitions must be signed by the candidate and 10 registered voters residing within the boundaries of the school corporation. Candidates should check with the county election board to determine the number of signatures required.
A candidate for a school board must have resided in the school corporation for at least one year before the election, unless a longer period is required. The individual must be at least 21 years of age.

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