“The board doesn’t vote 5-0 on all issues – a split vote isn’t new or unusual,” she said, adding “the district has built up great momentum over the past several years – our focus remains on keeping the district headed in the right direction for our students and our taxpayers.”
But Parnell, who was unanimously voted into the board’s vice president’s position, said “I think the board is a bit divided politically. The school board is supposed to remain a non-partisan body.”
“But we all work toward the same goals of student opportunities and fiscal responsibility,” he said. “I think we have good balance in the board leadership roles and I look forward to working with Julie Shaffer to continue the momentum we have started.”
Shaffer, who will now serve her second consecutive, one-year term leading the school board of Ohio’s eighth-largest school system, said “I am hopeful that everyone on the board will set aside their individual political differences and work together to support what’s in the best interest of our students, staff and community.”
As to the possibility of a divide, Shaffer said “I am one person of five, so I can’t speak to whether we will be a divided board.”
Taking independent positions is nothing new to O’Conner, who was first elected to the school board in 2008 and has also previously served as board president.
Most recently in October, she was the lone vote against approving a five-year, district budget projection what showed Lakota having a deficient in 2023.
O’Connor also called on fellow members to have a budget reduction plan in place by spring 2019 to eliminate the projected deficit.