2 political conservatives, incumbent win Lakota board seats

Butler County’s largest school district saw a close election race come down to a vote count sprint late Tuesday evening between incumbents and politically conservative newcomers.

Voters decided to add to Lakota Schools’ governing board two vocal advocates against some of the district’s policies with the election of business executive Isaac Adi and business woman Darbi Boddy.

Voters also returned current school board President Kelley Casper to another four-year term.

With the majority of seats open on the five-member board, which lost a lawsuit settlement earlier this year and was recently sued again, voters made Adi the top vote-getter with 17.3% of ballots, according to unofficial vote totals late Tuesday evening from the Butler County Board of Elections.

Following Adi closely was Boddy with 17.01% and then Casper at 16.15% of votes cast.

Losing Barely losing in order from there were: Douglas Horton with 15.42% and incumbent Michael Pearl at 15.40% and Vanessa Wells, who won a lawsuit settlement against Lakota earlier this year at 10.30%.

Adi and Boddy won with a high-profile campaign that included their objections to the alleged teaching of variations of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in Lakota – an accusation denied by school officials – and recent complaints by some families against student masking.

Boddy, a businesswoman who recently grabbed headlines for inviting Ohio U.S. Senatorial candidate Josh Mandel to a Lakota school board meeting last month and then attemping to turn over her speaking time to him.

Mandel was asked by Board President Casper to stop speaking and said he was improperly trying to talk outside of the public comment portion of the meeting. Mandel was accompanied by two Butler County Sheriff deputies as he was asked to leave the meeting.

Also last month, the Lakota board – which earlier this year lost a lawsuit settlement after accusations of improperly conducting its public meetings – was sued again.

A Butler County sheriff’s deputy and Lakota school district parent claims the board violated his freedom of speech rights by cutting him off and having him removed from the public business meeting.

Pearl was appointed to the board in summer 2020 to fill former school board member Todd Parnell’s seat after his resignation and lost in his bid to keep the seat.

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