New Miami Schools again do not have enough candidates for school board

For the second time in two years New Miami Schools and its governing board of education are advertising for applicants to fill an open seat on its five-member board. In the fall only two candidates ran for three open seats on New Miami's school board. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)

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For the second time in two years New Miami Schools and its governing board of education are advertising for applicants to fill an open seat on its five-member board. In the fall only two candidates ran for three open seats on New Miami's school board. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)

For the second time in two years a local school board didn’t have enough candidates to fill all five seats and is now advertising for applicants.

The New Miami Board of Education, which oversees southwest Ohio’s least populous school system of about 660 students, is trying as it did in 2020 to find a suitable candidate for appointment by the four current members.

The tiny district, which is north and adjacent to the 10,000-student Hamilton Schools, had two candidates for three open board seats in the November election.

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.

The district’s K-12 schools are housed on a single campus in one building in the Village of New Miami.

The Ohio School Boards Association’s senior attorney Van Keating has publicly said “this is not unusual and happens in about two or three districts a year statewide” among Ohio’s 613 public school districts.

Starting on Jan. 1 after the November election, school boards are not allowed to take any action regarding seeking applicants to appoint to an open seat unfilled by election for 10 days. Then on the board’s first regularly scheduled meeting after the 10 days, the board may then begin to take action toward to reviewing applicants for the appointment seat.

In 2020 the four sitting members on New Miami’s school board appointed Tari Jo Slagle, a former New Miami teacher, to fill its fifth seat through Jan. 1.

ExploreNew Miami school board fills vacancy caused by lack of candidates

In November, Slagle was elected in an uncontested race for a full, four-year term to board along with board member Charles Cook.

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.

Keating said if a four-member school board splits its vote on its appointment vote, then a county probate judge will then decide who will fill the fifth seat.

Similarly, if for whatever reasons a school board does not act within 30 days, a probate judge will decide on the board appointment.

Ohio school boards oversee public school districts, hire a superintendent and treasurer, approves policies and makes the final decisions on how to spend millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money regarding the operation of local schools.

School board members’ pay per meeting ranges from $80 to $125.

Robin Bonar, treasurer of New Miami Schools, recently sent out a public notice soliciting board appointment candidates.

Those interested, said Bonar, should submit a letter of interest to her at 600 Seven Mile Avenue; Hamilton, Ohio 45011 or to her email address rbonar@new-miami.k12.oh.us.

The letter of interest should be submitted by 4 p.m. Jan. 19.

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