New Miami school board fills vacancy caused by lack of candidates

A lack of interest by anyone last fall in running for the New Miami school board led to too few members for the district’s governing board.

But the four current members of the school board recently appointed a fifth member to fill the vacant seat.

The school board unanimously appointed Tari Jo Slagle, a former New Miami teacher, to fill its fifth seat.

Not having enough candidates running for local school board seats is a rarity and such a situation allows a board’s sitting members to solicit, interview and vote on appointing an applicant to join them on the board.

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To have a publicly elected school board seat remain open because no one placed their name on the ballot is rare but not unheard of, said Van Keating, attorney for the Ohio School Board Association (OSBA), whose members include almost all of the state’s 613 school boards.

Some other Butler County school districts last November – including Hamilton, Middletown – saw the number of board candidates equal the number of open seats leading to uncontested campaigns.

In Ohio, board of education applicants must be a U.S. citizen, reside within the school district for at least 30 days and be of 18 years of age.

Other qualifications are determined by local school boards who advertise for applicants, review candidate qualifications and then interview the applicants they choose.

Slagle, who did not respond to requests to comment, was sworn during the Jan. 23 New Miami Board of Education by a 4-0 vote.

New Miami’s enrollment of less than 700 students makes it the smallest district in Butler County and one of the tiniest among the 49 public school systems in Southwest Ohio.

According to the most recent Ohio Department of Education annual report card on districts, New Miami moved up a letter grade for overall quality, going from a “D” to a “C.”

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The district’s K-12 schools are housed on a single campus in the Village of New Miami, just north of the city of Hamilton.

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