The student voice of Sycamore High School in Cincinnati, Ohio

Your vote counts: Learn who you can elect for your school board

Q&A with Board of Education candidates

October 30, 2017

DISCUSSION. On Oct. 24 the candidates running for the three open spots on the Sycamore School Board met to discuss with their constituents. Audience members were able to write questions which were submitted to be read to the candidates. The question and answer session lasted for 1.5 hours and allowed for time before and after to let the candidates and audience members meet face-to-face.  “It is incredible to be able to meet in this setting and have such open and honest dialogue,” said Mr. Nick Frankowski.

Sydney Evans

DISCUSSION. On Oct. 24 the candidates running for the three open spots on the Sycamore School Board met to discuss with their constituents. Audience members were able to write questions which were submitted to be read to the candidates. The question and answer session lasted for 1.5 hours and allowed for time before and after to let the candidates and audience members meet face-to-face.  “It is incredible to be able to meet in this setting and have such open and honest dialogue,” said Mr. Nick Frankowski.

In the upcoming election on Tues., Nov. 7, many seniors will be able to vote for the first time. They will now have the power to influence how they believe the Sycamore Community should be progressing into the future.

Seniors have been taking on this new responsibility in stride, attending different political events in accordance with their government class syllabus.

Among the decisions voters will be asked to make will be selecting three new members of the Sycamore School Board.

Below are short Q&A’s with the candidates on the November ballot.

*Please note that candidates are arranged in alphabetical order according to last name. This is not meant to endorse or discredit any of them.


MRS. DIANE ADAMEC:

Adamec is a current school board member and has been on the board for 12 years. She has been a resident of the district for 18 years, and in that time, her two daughters have graduated from the Sycamore School District.

Q: What are your biggest concerns for the Sycamore community and SHS?

A: ​​Our greatest challenge as a district is the loss of state funding in Tangible Personal Property Tax​ replacement. Sycamore used to receive about $12 million per year (on a $73 million budget) from that funding source. We are on a path to lose the remaining part (approximately $6 million per year) of that over the next several years from state funding changes. The board and administration are actively working with our legislators for a solution that will be right for Sycamore and protect our revenue in the long run.

Q: If you are elected to the Sycamore School Board, what do you believe you will contribute?

A: ​If I am elected, I will have the most experience (12 years as a board member and four years as the Board President) of any of the members. Continuity on a team is an important factor to remember in any team membership. I also offer the added perspective of being a parent of children who attended Sycamore at every educational level as well as a community member who doesn’t have children in school currently. ​

Q: If you are elected to the school board, what will be your biggest goal for your term?

A: My goals have remained the same during my tenure on the board and are aligned with the goals of the district. My promise is to ensure that Sycamore maintains academic and fiscal excellence and continues to deliver the outstanding results our community expects.

Q: What is the best way for people to reach out to you and learn more about what you stand for?

A: I have a Facebook page​​, Adamec for Sycamore, where you can see some things about me and what I believe is important, but the best way to know me better is to reach out to me for discussion. I can be reached at djadamec@gmail.com or by cell at 513-265-2216.​


MR. DAVID EVANS:

Evans, President and CEO of TESSEC, has been a member of the Sycamore School Board Advisory Council for the past ten years. He has had four children go through the Sycamore school system.

Q: What are your biggest concerns for the Sycamore community and SHS?

A: First, in the short term, I think that we need to get a teacher contract agreed to by the teaching staff as a whole and ratified through a vote. Then we need to repair the apparent rift that has developed between the teachers and administration. The second issue that I see is the long-term funding of the school system. The current five-year budget has a funding profile that needs to have more cost savings starting in year three in order to break even. If the state of Ohio continues to phase out funding and the costs continue to increase, it will create financial difficulties in the future.

Q: If you are elected to the Sycamore School Board, what do you believe you will contribute?

A: I would be the only person on the school board who has children in the school system and has SHS graduates in college. The importance of this is that I have a relevant perspective on what it takes as a parent to move children through the school system successfully as well as still having children in the system to have a relevant basis for making decisions as a school board member. I think this perspective and my relative board and business experience as a senior leader will bring a wealth of capability and knowledge to the board.

Q: If you are elected to the school board, what will be your biggest goal for your term?

A: I have been out talking to the community, walking the district, meeting our friends and neighbors, and I have heard from a number of different constituencies about their views on the school system. One thing that has been crystal clear in my door-to-door discussions is that there is a strong sense of community tied to our great schools and how much that is valued. My vision is about maintaining and growing that pride with 1) academic excellence, 2) strong financial management, and 3) open and honest communication.

Q: What is the best way for people to reach out to you and learn more about what you stand for?

A: There are three great options: 1) watch my interview on ICRC TV; 2) I have a Facebook page with more information; and 3) you can reach out to me via email to have a direct dialogue at evans4sycamore@gmail.com.


MR. NICK FRANKOWSKI:

Frankowski graduated from SHS in 2015 and is a current student at the Ohio State University (OSU). He has worked as a legislative aide for the Cincinnati City Council, analyzing the budget and making proposals to the mayor.

Q: What are your biggest concerns for the Sycamore community and SHS?

A: My biggest concerns are two things. First and foremost, transparency. I think we can do more to be more open and accessible and making sure the entire community has access to all relevant information. Second, getting younger people involved is an important issue. It’s important to pay attention and listen to these younger perspectives. This has been a great learning experience, getting to talk to people and hear other perspectives. Making sure we get people’s voices heard is imperative.

Q: If you are elected to the Sycamore School Board, what do you believe you will contribute?

A: I have the perspective of having been a recent SHS student. So, I have a different take and can keep the conversations moving. Something I think it is lacking is younger participation, and our generation is important and has to be heard.  

Q: If you are elected to the school board, what will be your biggest goal for your term?

A: Transparency. I am advocating joining Ohio Checkbook, which is an easy resource to track financing. Although we do publish annual financial reports, instead of waiting, we could update in real-time which would be useful. Lots of other districts have joined including some universities. It is important to make sure people know where their money is going.

Q: What is the best way for people to reach out to you and learn more about what you stand for?

A: Either my Facebook, Frankowski for Sycamore, or my website. My contact information is available on both.


MR. JOHN MERCURIO:

Mercurio, one of the incumbents running for reelection, was spurred to become more active in the Sycamore community after the failure of the 2004 levy.

Q: What are your biggest concerns for the Sycamore community and SHS?

A: Our biggest community concern is the state funding issue. We’re set to lose four million dollars a year this year and three million next year. We’re moving from seventeen percent state funding to single digit funding in the near future. Furthermore, the biggest challenge facing the school is our staff and their workloads. The workload of our staff and the number of students they are serving is a heavy burden, and we continue to hire staff to help release some of that pressure, but there is an upward trend.

Q: If you are elected to the Sycamore School Board, what do you believe you will contribute?

A: We need to assess kids and react quicker to allow kids to reach their full potential. Bringing in more enrichment support systems like Mastery Connect will ultimately boost Sycamore. We can do a better job with the analysis and propel the kids further faster.

Q: If you are elected to the school board, what will be your biggest goal for your term?

A:  If I were reelected, my goal would be to continue to have our state legislators work for us, protect state funding, and lobbying and working with the state. We are one of the leading districts, so the state listens to us and will continue to work for us.

Q: What is the best way for people to reach out to you and learn more about what you stand for?

A: Visit my website or call and email. I’m always available to anyone in the district.


MRS. PAARAS PARKER:

Parker,  a 2001 SHS graduate, currently works for a local company, 84.51, as the Head of Talent Development, Organizational Development, Leadership Development and Learning and Development. She is not only an SHS alum but also a relatively new Sycamore parent.

Q: What are your biggest concerns for the Sycamore community and SHS?

A: I think our biggest concern should be being complacent. Not pushing or thinking outside of the box because of what we have already accomplished can become detrimental. It’s dangerous if we are not curious to create or supporting of an environment for our teachers to support new teaching and learning. We need to support the Superintendent with new policies and look at new ways to analyze data so we don’t fall asleep at the wheel.

Q: If you are elected to the Sycamore School Board, what do you believe you will contribute?

A: Everybody has a diverse perspective. I bring a voice that hasn’t been on the board. I represent students, parents, minorities, and immigrants. I want to focus on talent development and recognition. I’m really open and have been involved in the community for a long time. I want to be an advocate for unheard voices. Furthermore, I would contribute to the transparency of the School Board because if people understand the why behind decisions, then we can have a more productive dialogue. I hope to show that we are all in it to share with the community.

Q: If you are elected to the school board, what will be your biggest goal for your term?

A: My platform is exposure to achievement whether I’m on the board or not. It’s about how we continue to challenge our choices and the way of thinking as our student demographics change. It is important that the district is providing intentional exposure so that our students know they are a great them.

Q: What is the best way for people to reach out to you and learn more about what you stand for?

A: My Facebook page links to webpage paarasparker.com. There you can learn about my professional life.

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