Four candidates are running in the general election for South-Western City Schools Board of Education in Franklin County, Ohio, on Nov. 7, 2023. Two of five school board seats are up for election, and voters can choose up to two candidates.
The district had approximately 21,699 students during the 2021-2022 school year.
Two slates have each fielded two candidates. Incumbents Anthony Caldwell and Lee Schreiner are running as the Students First! slate of candidates. Caldwell is the school board president and Schreiner is the vice president. Their campaign priorities include: listening to parents, taxpayers, and residents; safeguarding tax dollars with fiscally responsible leadership; and protecting the safety, security, and wellness of all students. Caldwell and Schreiner said on social media that they “delivered on their promises: No New Taxes since 2009, 4 New Middle Schools, On Time/On Budget, Graduation Rates & Student Grades Up, Student Absences Reduced, 28 New Student Support Professionals.”
Denise D’Angelo and Julie Liskany are running as The Parents’ Voice slate. Their campaign priorities include: increasing parental/community involvement; ensuring safer schools and learning environments; and raising student achievement. D’Angelo and Liskany said on social media: “As School Board members, we plan to implement a curriculum board to improve academics, increase opportunities for Special Education students in post-graduation settings, provide Better communication between Counselors/students/families and community partners for more job training and internships, and more access to our award-winning Career Academy.”
While the election is nonpartisan, both nonpartisan and partisan organizations and officeholders have endorsed the slates. Endorsements for the Students First! slate include the Franklin County, Ohio, Democratic Party and four education associations. Endorsements for The Parents’ Voice slate include Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R), the Franklin County, Ohio, Republican Party, and the 1776 Project PAC.
Columbus Dispatch reporters Mark Ferenchik and Bailey Gallion said the 1776 Project “has been pouring money into local school board races around the county.” The project, which endorsed The Parents’ Voice candidates D’Angelo and Liskany, is a “political action committee dedicated to electing school board members nationwide who want to reform our public education system by promoting patriotism and pride in American history. We are committed to abolishing critical race theory and ‘The 1619 Project’ from the public school curriculum.” In an interview with The Columbus Dispatch, Students First! candidate Caldwell said “he is concerned about the school board changing direction and aligning with a certain ideology.” D’Angelo and Liskany said, “We appreciate the support from 1776 who believes ALL history should be taught in the classroom and that school is for education. Liskany D’Angelo has received 0 communication from 1776. Endorsement of 1776 was not known until a post card was sent on their behalf to those in the community.”
In Ohio, school board candidates must reside and be registered to vote in the school district for at least 30 days before the election.