Marietta school board, council candidates take part in forum

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 6:50 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 20, 2021 at 4:44 AM EDT
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MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - Candidates at a forum sponsored by the Marietta Chamber of Commerce spoke of a lack of communication involving the current board of education, the school administration and the community-and wanting to change that.

“Working to build a strong sense of communication, building unity and creating a culture of transparency,” said Cody Parman, one of five candidates for three seats on the Marietta Board of Education in the November 2 election.

“To put together all these pieces, and how they align with other things in the community, is important to the recipe of success for our schools, and more importantly, our children,” said candidate Sam Tuten.

They also spoke of the schoolteachers as the backbone of the school system.

“I would look to (the teachers) and get more feedback from them,” said Eric Reed, “and then, just listen to the community.”

In the past two years, a bond issue-to consolidate school buildings and to build a single-campus school-and an income tax levy have been rejected by voters.

More recently, there’s been controversy over extending Superintendent Will Hampton’s contract.

Issues have also been raised about academic achievement.

At least two of the candidates believe the current board is not addressing public concerns about those issues.

“It’s easy to say we want to listen to parents,” said Ethan Vessels, “but when they speak up and say they have a problem, many of them say they’re not being listened to.”

“If you speak up and you disagree with a board decision, with the administration, you get whacked,” John Lehman added. “I plan to battle that.”

Candidates for Marietta City Council also were featured. Generally, they said the city is starting to make progress, but believe more needs to be done to make it business and community-friendly.

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