Voters in Madison Schools - and other Butler County school communities - chose members Tuesday for their district’s governing boards. Madison - along with Talawanda Schools - each saw seven candidates vying for three open board seats. But for five of the county’s school districts, the number of candidates equally matched the number of open seats, removing any of the mystery over this year’s school board ballot. (File Photo/Journal-News)

Butler County school board races: Who returns, who’s new

In two of the county’s most crowded candidate fields – Madison and Talawanda school board races – voters returned some familiar faces to the governing boards overseeing their local school systems.

Both Madison and Talawanda had a board majority of three contested seats open on the five-member boards. Both districts had seven candidates vying for three open seats.

Voters in Madison Twp. chose to return school board President David French – who won 17 percent of the vote – with Joseph Solomito and Amy Black Jessee both getting 15 percent of the unofficial vote tally.

In Talawanda, voters chose to return Chris Otto, who won 20 percent, and also chose Rebecca Howard (20 percent) and Kathleen Knight Abowitz (18 percent).

Some school board races in Butler County were decided well before Tuesday’s election, as the number of candidates matched the number of open seats.

Voters in Fairfield, Hamilton, Monroe, Edgewood and Middletown school systems saw that situation when they went to cast their votes. All candidates on ballots in those districts won by default.

In Ross Schools, where four candidates sought three seats, voters chose incumbent Sean Van Winkle with 29 percent of the vote, followed by Heather Hayes with 25 percent and Andrew Schnell at 24 percent, according to unofficial vote totals.

In New Miami Schools, voters saw a rare electoral scenario where there were only two candidates on the ballot but three open school board seats.

Under Ohio election law the New Miami board, which after Tuesday’s election now includes two new members who ran unopposed, will see the board appoint a fifth member from applicants interviewed prior to early January to fill out the remaining seat.

And in the area’s only school tax issue on the ballot, voters narrowly rejected a proposed 4.96-mill, $90 million bond issue to build a new Kings Schools junior high building and expand, renovate the southern Warren County district’s high school.

Voters in Kings defeated the bond issue by 51 to 49 percent.

And voters also had the choice of only two candidates to fill two open seats on the Butler County Educational Services Center’s (BCESC) governing board.

BCESC candidates and now board members Steve Feldmann and Benita Mudd were assured of board seats once they registered in August as candidates.

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