Some school board races still lacking candidates

MANISTEE — With only two days remaining until Tuesday’s 4 p.m. filing deadline to get one’s name on the ballot, there are several board of education and West Shore Community College races where there are more openings than candidates.election (4)

Manistee County Chief Deputy Clerk Lyndsay Marquardt confirmed on Friday morning that the Kaleva Norman Dickson and Onekama Consolidated Schools have more openings that candidates who have filled out the paperwork. The Mason County and Manistee County Clerk’s offices both confirmed that a similar situation is currently occurring with the two open seats on the board of trustees as only one candidate has filed at this time.

People wanting to get their name on the ballot must meet and follow certain steps said Manistee County clerk Jill Nowak.

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 a $100 nonrefundable fee in lieu of petitions,” said Nowak.

Nowak said something prospective candidates should be aware of is the amount of signatures needed when getting petition signatures varies based on population.

“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.”

Another part of the process according to Nowak is all candidates must 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, and at this time three candidates have filed for those seats.

The Kaleva Norman Dickson voters will be looking to fill four four-year terms in the Nov. 6 election. Seats presently held by Kathleen Fairbanks, Robert Guenther, Karen McIntyre and Jessica Ward are all expiring. Only two candidates have filed as of Friday.

At the Onekama Consolidated Schools, three four-year term seats and one partial term seat presently held by Heidi Wisniski, Nick Dye, Daniel Behring and Karl Domres will all be on the ballot. Two candidtes have filed for any of those four positions at this time.

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.

At West Shore Community College, the terms of James Barker and Mike Ennis are expiring and only one person has filed for those two openings.


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

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