In the past, Liberty School District voters have demonstrated support for their local schools by voting for a new high school and by electing highly competent board members who have the best interests of the district's children -- and by extension, the entire community -- at heart. Once again, voters have the opportunity to continue the district's progress by re-electing board members John K. Lallo and Richard T. Malone. Board member Michael Marsco has decided to run for Liberty Township trustee rather than for re-election to the school board.
Lallo: Lallo, who has served on the board for six years, and is at the end of his first full term, has a clear vision for the Liberty schools, recognizing the necessity of a strong academic program with a curriculum that is grounded in theory but that must be applicable to the students' needs to be prepared for the job market or for college or university entrance. He advocates adding classes to help those students who have not passed the proficiency tests as well as expanded offerings in science, math and foreign languages. As the president of a Youngstown manufacturing company, Lallo will continue to ensure that the district follows sound business practices.
Malone: Malone, a Yale University graduate and WCI manager with 12 years experience on the board, also offers Liberty residents reasons to look forward to continued educational success in Liberty. During Malone's tenure on the board, he can point with pride to the district's continuous improvement plan -- which he expects to show improved results when the Ohio Department of Education report cards are issued next year -- and to the financial stability that the district has achieved. Further, he understands the difficulties presented by increasing numbers of transient students and will work to see that their educational needs are met.
Four challengers are in the race: Atty. Marc Dann, business consultant Christine Williams, homemaker Patty Lattera and Charles A. Mulidore, a U.S. Postal Service supervisor. Although The Vindicator is only endorsing the incumbents for re-election, of the challengers, Dann would bring the most diverse background and range of experiences to the board.
A graduate of the University of Michigan who holds a juris doctorate from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Dann is also an active citizen of the area who wants to build within Liberty the intensity of school support found in such communities as Poland, Canfield and Howland.
Mrs. Lattera, whose son is an eighth grader at W.S. Guy School, recognizes that she has & quot;a lot to learn & quot; if she is elected to the board but has been active in the parent-teacher organization, serving as a past vice president, and has served as a volunteer in the schools. She believes she can offer a & quot;mom's & quot; point of view to the management of the school district, especially as she cares deeply about the school system and regularly attends board of education meetings.
Mrs. Williams, a degreed engineer now working for the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, also has two children in the Liberty schools -- a son in fifth grade and a daughter in first grade. She believes it's necessary to change the attitudes within the district particularly in the area of mathematics. If she lacks knowledge about school district financing and educational policy, she is, nonetheless, an enthusiastic supporter of the schools.
Mulidore, who served on the board from 1996 until 2000, was defeated in the 1999 election, but wants to return. In his campaign, he is suggesting that the current board lacks innovation and is neither accessible nor accountable to the community. The facts, however, do not support his contentions, and after meeting with Mulidore, The Vindicator's editorial board believes he would be a divisive force that could well impede the progress that the district has made.