Petitions now available for expiring board of education seats

MANISTEE — All four of the Manistee County public school districts and West Shore Community College will have board seats expiring this year that will be decided in the Nov. 6 election.

Manistee County Clerk Jill Nowak and chief deputy clerk Lindsey Marquardt  review information prospective board of education and West Shore Community College Board of Trustee candidates will have to fill out to get their name on the November ballot.

Manistee County Clerk Jill Nowak and chief deputy clerk Lindsey Marquardt review information prospective board of education and West Shore Community College Board of Trustee candidates will have to fill out to get their name on the November ballot.

Manistee County clerk Jill Nowak reminded prospective candidates that information on filing for those seats that will be expiring this year is now available at her office in the Manistee County Courthouse building. All persons need to fill out that paperwork by 4 p.m. on July 24 and return it to the clerk’s office if they want their name on the ballot in November.

Nowak reminded those running that all board of education and WSCC Board of Trustee seats are non partisan and do not have any political party affiliation. All candidates must be 18 years of age; a citizen of the United States; a resident of Michigan for 30 days; and resident of the school district on or before the date of the election. Property ownership is not a requirement for candidacy.

“People have the choice of filing a nominating petition containing signatures of registered voters in the school district from where they are running for a seat or they file $100 nonrefundable fee in lieu of petitions,” said Nowak.

The clerk did point out that the number of signatures needed on those petitions  goes by the population in that district.

“Manistee Area Public Schools is different from the other three because the population in the district is more than 10,000 people, so candidates need a minimum of 40 signatures and a maximum of 100 signatures,” said Nowak. “For the other three (Onekama Consolidated, Bear Lake Schools and Kaleva Norman Dickson) who have a population of 9,999 or less candidates need a minimum of six signatures and a maximum of 20 signatures.”

Nowak said that it is also necessary for all the candidates to file an affidavit of identity to get their name on the ballot.

“The affidavit of identity gives us the candidate’s name, address, how they want their name on the ballot, how many years they have been a resident, what term they are running for and what school district,” said Nowak. “It gives us all the information that we can verify they are a resident in that school district.”

Candidates also have to file a statement of organization (campaign finance). A candidate who seeks a school board position in a district with a pupil membership of 2,400 or less and received or spends $1,000 or less for the election is not required to file a statement of organization.

Those elected in November will not take office until Jan. 1 for all school board positions.

The Manistee Area Public Schools has three seats expiring as they move into the last phase of transition to the six-year terms. Seats that are presently held by Dr. Paul Antal, Paul Wehrmeister and Richard Edmondson will be expiring and on the ballot.

Other members of the board not up for election in this election cycle are Shelley Johnson (term ending 2022), Jim Thompson (term ending 2022), Daniela Thomas and Dale Sparks (term ending 2020).

The Kaleva Norman Dickson voters will be looking to fill four four-year terms in the November 6 election. Seats presently held by Kathleen Fairbanks, Robert Guenther, Karen McIntyre and Jessica Ward are all expiring. Ward was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Jeannette Somsel on Jan. 22 and now must run for election if she wants to retain the seat.

Those seats held by KND board members not up for election are William Edmondson (term ending 2020), Ashley Gutowski (term ending 2020) and Heather Stapley (term ending 2020).

At the Onekama Consolidated Schools four year term seats presently held by Heidi Wisniski, Nick Dye, Daniel Behring and Karl Domres will all be on the ballot. The district is the only one in the county that has not had enough candidates file for the openings in the past two elections.

Board members not facing re-election this year are Sally Koon (term ending in 2020), Samuel Cantanese (term ending in 2020) and Steve Brooks (term ending 2020).

Two seats on the Bear Lake Schools Board of Education presently held by Eric Smith and Greg Babinec are expiring this year. They are six-year terms that will be decided by the voters.

Seats not on the ballot are Bethany Merrill (term ending in 2020), Rebecca Fink (term ending in 2022), Charles Brooks (term ending in 2020), Angela Eisenlohr (term ending in 2020) and Shad Buckner (term ending in 2020).

Nowak said there also will be seats from the West Shore Community College Board of Trustees that will be expiring  this year.

“Our office is also the place to file for seats on the West Shore Community College Board of Trustees,” said Nowak.

This year the six-year term seats presently held Mike Ennis and James Barker who both reside in Manistee County  are expiring.

Trustees that will not be coming up for election this time are Bruce Smith (term ending 2022), Richard Wilson (term ending 2022), James Jensen (term ending 2020), Dr. Tony Fabaz (term ending 2020) and Sherry Wyman (term ending 2022).

Nowak said that anyone filling out the paperwork will be presented a 2018 Candidates Guide to School Board Elections book that is put out by the Michigan Association of School Boards.

“It contains information that tells them what to expect from being a board of education member and what they need to know about that position,” said Nowak.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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