Name: Sarah Williamson

City of Residence: Bellbrook, Ohio

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Office Sought: Bellbrook Sugarcreek Board of Education – Unexpired Term

Campaign Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Williamson4bss

Campaign Website: https://williamson4bss.com/

Why should you be elected?

The current board has a 15% confidence rating from our staff in both education decisions and Covid response. This is unacceptable. We need new leadership with proactive approaches to our issues. You should choose me in this election if you want a board member that will:

– Advocate for tangible progress in the ongoing fight for transparency, e.g. an online checkbook, board work sessions, and town hall meetings.
– Address our schools’ funding issues instead of postponing them, e.g. a dedicated grant writer, advocate for an amendment to HB920 to allow a school levy to scale with inflation, endorse and promote proposed bill HB357 that would allow higher tax exemptions for seniors.
– Put students first and focus on education.
– Engage in proactive planning to address issues before a crisis occurs, e.g. our aging bus fleet.
– Prioritize factual information and expert opinion on any difficult topics that arise.
– Engage staff, students, and families in promoting shared values using a financially responsible approach.
– Be invested in the long term health of this district regardless of how this election turns out.

What are you top three priorities?

Transparency- the community has been calling for work sessions and for open finances for years. I would like to see the board establish actual work sessions rather than just extra meetings. Work sessions on major issues or projects are an alternative to duplicating regular meeting agendas. Examples include goal-setting, budget reviews, and major development proposals. When every issue is on both the work and regular session agendas, it may become repetitive. By having topic-specific work sessions, we can avoid incredibly long meetings. I would like us to establish more transparent finances. Our peer districts use a system like www.OhioCheckbook.com. The current incumbents say they want these items but they are not doing them.

Funding Issues- we struggled to pass a levy for a few years. Our most recent levy is not a permanent one. We need solutions to be worked on now. I would like a much more proactive approach to this. We need new ideas. The state has made it clear that they are not interested in changing the way they do things. I think we need a dedicated grant writer to help alleviate some of the burden on taxpayers.

Class Sizes- I am deeply concerned about our current class sizes, especially at the elementary level. Our ultimate goal should be to lower these to ensure that we are providing the best education possible. There is no question that this problem has more to do with finance than with the merits of smaller class sizes. To bridge the gap with delays caused by the pandemic, I would like to see at least some temporary teachers hired with COVID funds

Biography:

I am the mother of three boys who range in age from seven to seven months old. Originally from Dayton, I moved to Columbus for high school and college. My family moved to this area in 2016 from Albuquerque, NM. I established a successful small business here in Bellbrook in 2019. My business is now well established, we hire locals, and we consistently hit growth targets year over year.

Prior to being a small business owner I managed commercial and residential properties for 10 years. The experiences I have gained over the years have equipped me with a foundation of working with diverse communities, crafting policies, and maintaining financial discipline. As an experienced professional and someone who is passionate about my community, I feel I would make an excellent Board member.