Fairfield school board picks attorney to fill open seat

The new member of the governing board of Fairfield schools said school security her top priority.

The Fairfield Board of Education voted Thursday evening 3-0 to appoint Jerrilynn Gundrum to fill a vacant seat on the board that oversees the 10,000-student Butler County district.

Board member Carrie O’Neal was absent due to being out of town.

Former Fairfield Board Vice President Dan Hare resigned from his elected seat last month.

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Six people applied to fill Hare’s seat, and the board narrowed that pool to three candidates who were interviewed Thursday evening prior to the board’s vote.

Michael Berding, president of the board, said Gundrum is “an attorney by profession and she is a member of the Butler County Bar Association.”

She is also an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati, and serves as an attorney advisor with the social security administration. In the community, she has been active with the Fairfield Twp. Youth Basketball League, including its board.

“I tend to be very analytical and can look at all sides of an issue with an open mind. I also bring a strong desire to serve the public and help guide young people to success in life,” she said.

The Fairfield Twp. resident will serve until Jan. 1. For Gundrum to continue beyond that, she is required to run in the Nov. 5 election to complete the remainder of Hare’s term — Jan. 1, 2020 until Dec. 31, 2021.

In many ways school boards can impact area families with school-age children more so than most other publicly elected offices.

The governing boards, which feature five members – seven for larger enrollment districts, oversee all aspects of a local school system and collectively approve millions of dollars of expenditures of taxpayers’ dollars.

Under Ohio law, school boards directly hire superintendents and treasurers.

The boards’ actions require a three-vote majority, adding to the importance of any single board seat.

While boards do not manage the day-to-day operations of public school systems, they oversee the employees, teachers and non-instructional staffers who do.

In Ohio, school board members’ elected terms are four years and there are no term limits on the public office.

Any candidate seeking to be on the Nov. 5 ballot must file approved petitions with the Butler County Board of Elections by Aug. 7.

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