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Public To Get Chance To Hear From Ohio County Board of Education Candidates

WHEELING – Ohio County voters will have a chance to learn more about the five candidates running for the Ohio County Board of Education during a public forum set for Thursday, April 28, at The Highlands Events Center.

Hosted by The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register and WTRF-TV, the forum will consist of a question-and-answer session with the candidates on topics ranging from the school district’s current budget and staffing levels to the future of public education in the state and how that impacts Ohio County.

The event is scheduled from 6:30-8 p.m., with doors opening at 6 p.m.

The candidates running for the board are David Croft, a Wheeling attorney; retired Ohio County Schools teacher and administrator Andy Garber; Jessica Powers, a parent; Molly Aderholt, a Wheeling attorney; and Darrin Cox, a professor at West Liberty University.

Croft and Aderholt currently are finishing their first terms as members of the Ohio County Board of Education. For Cox, Powers and Garber, this marks their first run for public office. All five will be in attendance at the April 28 event.

Ron Scott’s name also will appear on the ballot for the board of education, but he has withdrawn from the race.

“In many ways, the election of three members to the Ohio County Board of Education is the most important decision local voters will make in the May 10 primary election,” said John McCabe, editor of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register and the event’s moderator. “No other candidate on the ballot this spring can have the impact on our community – on our most precious resource, our children – that is the responsibility of school board members. That’s why knowing who the candidates are, what they stand for and why they’re running for office is so important.”

“WTRF is pleased to partner with The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register to promote and livestream the Ohio County Board of Education forum,” added WTRF News Director Brenda Danehart. “It’s important Ohio County voters have as much information as possible before heading to the polls.”

The evening’s events also will include a brief explanation on just how school board candidates are elected in West Virginia. State law allows no more than two members to serve from any one of the county’s three magisterial districts. Currently, board members not up for re-election are Grace Norton, District 1, and Pete Chacalos, District 2.

Powers resides in District 1; Croft and Cox, District 2; and Aderholt and Garber, District 3. What that means is that District 3 is guaranteed at least one representative on the board, so the highest vote-total between Aderholt and Garber will win a seat. The next seat goes to the candidate among the remaining four with the most votes. That leaves one seat open, and that’s where it gets complicated.

Consider this scenario: If either Cox or Croft in District 2 would get the most votes after a seat is given to one of the District 3 candidates, then the other District 2 candidate, no matter how many votes he receives, is out of the running. That would mean the final seat would be up between the other District 3 candidate and Powers.

If both Powers and the other District 3 candidate have more votes than Croft and Cox, they both win a seat and District 2 would only have one representative, Chacalos.

It’s confusing, and will be made more so this year by the fact that Scott’s name also will appear on the ballot. He will receive votes, and that too could factor into who wins the final seat.

As Danehart noted, for those unable to attend the April 28 event, it will be livestreamed at both wtrf.com and theintelligencer.net.

The Highlands Events Center is located across from the Marquee Cinemas complex. The event is open to the public. Refreshments will be provided following the event.

Early voting for the May 10 primary election begins Wednesday, April 27.

Community input also is being sought for the school board forum, as the newspapers will select several questions posed by community members to ask during the event. If you have a question that would like to pose, email jmccabe@theintelligencer.net.


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