Ouch South Bend School Board

Posted: November 3, 2010 in Schools, South Bend

I know yesterday was a big election and there were huge shifts in the political landscape and Republicans won back…blah, blah, blah…

My heart is local and very much interested in the South Bend School system.  And for that, I was very much interested in the results of the three incumbents from the school board who were up for reelection (Maria Hummel [President of the School Board], Sheila Bergeron, and Ralph Pieniazkiewicz).

And what happened?  A MASSIVE SMACK-DOWN!! All three were defeated, two quite soundly.

District 1:

Jay Paponigro: 3804 (winner); Sheila Bergeron:  1365; and Nikki Hutchinson:  818

District 2:

John Stancati: 3174 (winner); Ralph Pieniazkiewicz:  2628; Michael Voll:  2013

District 3:

Michelle Engel:  5816 (winner); Marcia Hummel:  2213; Anthony Douglas: 907

BUT – even out of this election I am TOTALLY convinced that the school board should either be in full / or part – appointed officials by the mayor (even though that wouldn’t excite me too much in regards to the current mayor…but in philosophy) rather than elected by the populace.

And this is why – because the populace has, IN THE MAIN, no clue about the candidates and what they would do, or where they stand.  And that is why we have the mess we do!!!

Two cases in point:

1.  District 2 – John Stancati won.  But everyone that I’ve talked to (and granted I’ve not talked to everyone) who attended a town hall meeting or forum in which John Stancati was present left concluding that out of the three candidates he was the LEAST capable of being on the school board.  While I’m sure he is a very nice man, he was incapable of articulating his thoughts and plans for the school corporation.  And yet, he was the winner.  [Angie Medors if you are reading this…you could have won handedly].

2.  District 5 – Anthony Douglas dropped out of the race in September but he still received nearly 1000 votes.  So 1000 voters knew so little about this race that they voted for a guy who had already dropped out!!!

I don’t think I won’t our current mayor to have any more control than he already does.  But when it comes to a system that is able to find, research, and hold accountable appointments to the school board – I think the mayor’s office is way more qualified by way of philosophy than the general public.

I don’t know what the rest of the school board who wasn’t up for election thought.  But if I were:  Roger Parent, Stephanie Spivey, Dawn Jones, or Bill Sniadecki I would be a little nervous.

  1. Melissa says:

    I feel this way about elections in general. Most people, myself indluded, don’t have the knowledge and understanding necessary to vote responsibly.

  2. Lorinda Wallin says:

    I think, Roger and Bill will be okay. The other 2 may go. Angie for at large. YEAH>>>> we’d campaign for you, Ive said that before.

  3. Janelle says:

    It’s always been my thought that all candidates names should have to be written in. That way you can’t just fill in a bubble because of party or because you think their name sounds cool, when you have absolutely no idea who they are. (You have to admit, Stancati was the coolest sounding name in our district …and that could be what won it for him.)

  4. Janelle – I think that is EXACTLY why Stancati got elected. People like to say his name. Go ahead. Say it out loud. Much better than Voll. To guttural.

  5. the other ed says:

    It is also exactly why Bob Gregorwichikowaliskitsky will never get elected…

  6. Angie Medors says:

    Sam, Sam, Sam . . . I have to admit, there are days I have asked myself why I just didn’t take the plunge and go for it! But it’s just not the right time. How about this . . . If and when I consider putting my name in the hat, you will be the first person I call to be my campaign manager (assuming you’ll donate a big fat check for the cause! ha!) 🙂 Thanks for the vote of confidence! And I agree 100% with pretty much everything you said here!

  7. Doug says:

    A couple things. I think it is quite possible people voted for Douglas (other than the cool name) as a real protest vote on the lack of viable candidates. Also, I personally wish that there was at least one option for my district that had some experience outside of the school context. I personally don’t think you need to have teaching experience to be a school board member. (Okay, you can’t be an uninformed boob either…)

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