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Ahner, Chapman make the grade

Alissa Widman Neese • Nov 6, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Newcomer Michael Ahner, a 2008 Perkins High graduate, received an overwhelming 36 percent of the district’s votes, landing one of two available board seats, according to unofficial election results.

Ahner, 23, recently returned to the area after graduating from the Ohio State University with a degree in mechanical engineering. He said he hopes to offer a fresh perspective to the board.

For a listing of all the election results click HERE

“I hope to bring the community back together,” he said. “I look forward to working with the current board members and doing the right thing for Perkins Schools: moving forward as a district.”

Nine-year board member Terry Chapman will retain his seat for another four years. He received about 24 percent of the votes.

At a Register-sponsored candidate debate at Chet and Matt’s Pizza in October, Chapman and Ahner appeared split on many issues, especially concerning district finances.

Watch the debate in the player below

Chapman said he supports the current board’s decision to move “inside millage” — funding used for day-to-day operations — into a separate account for building improvements.

The polarizing decision has effectively segmented the Perkins Schools community, as it has prompted the district to repeatedly pursue tax levies to replace the funds.

Voters again overwhelmingly rejected a tax levy Tuesday, with about 61 percent of Perkins Township residents voting against it. The district’s reserve cash is set to be depleted to a mere $23,500 by the end of the current school year. Its budget is about $21 million per year.

At the debate, Ahner said he is against the millage move and proposed returning the 5.2 mills of funds back into the operating budget. A smaller levy, possibly 2 mills, would help the district get by in the short term, so it could then address its building issues later with another levy, he said.

When contacted Tuesday, Ahner said he hasn’t yet determined what his key goals will be when he takes his seat in January.

Each candidate elected will serve a four-year term on the board.

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