By Kayleigh Rahn
Six community members, including two incumbents, will be on the ballot in the April 2 consolidated election in hopes of joining the Tuscola Board of Education.
Dec. 17 was the deadline to file as a candidate with a name on the ballot.
However, with the township and range system of representation, tallying the votes in April could become a bit more complicated than expected. Here is quick look at who’s running, what township and range is stacked, and what to expect on election night.
Who’s running; Who’s not
The April 2 ballot will include candidates Brad Ingram, Margie Carter, Darrold Spillman, Ian Rominger, Khristi Boyer, and Bob Devlin.
The Tuscola Board of Education consists of seven board members elected to serve, without compensation, for overlapping terms of four years each. Four seats will open in 2019.
Board members Tim Mooney and Toby Ring, both from outside Township 16 N Range 8 E, are opting out of reelection. Mooney, current board vice president, has served the Tuscola school board since April 2011, while Ring, current board secretary, has served since 2015.
In contrast, current board members Boyer, current board president who was elected in April 2011, and Spillman, who was also elected in April 2011, are throwing their hats in the ring once again.
Board members Cathy Mannen (Township 15 N Range 8 E), Martin Marx (Township 16 N Range 8 E), and Rick Quinn (Township 15 N Range 8 E) will continue their terms that expire in 2021.
Ingram, Carter, Rominger, or Devlin would be newcomers to the board if elected.
Township and Range explained
The Tuscola school district is made up of eight Township and Range areas. For those unfamiliar, township typically qualifies the distance north from a baseline while range measures miles east.
These areas within Tuscola school district are not equally populated or sized, and quite honestly, even school bookkeeper Jerri Quinn is unaware how the lines were decided and drawn all those decades ago. However, these areas will become important come April as each area can have no more than three representatives serve on the school board.
The most highly populated area is Township 16 N Range 8 E, which spans from Route 36 north to the county line road and includes most of the city’s residents. This area is only allowed three representatives, and one of those seats is currently filled by Marx. That allows only two from this area to be elected in April.
With this in mind only one candidate, Ingram, lives outside this area, while each of the other five candidates live within it. Excluding Ingram, only two of the remaining five candidates can be elected to the board.
In short, of Carter, Spillman, Rominger, Boyer, and Devlin, the top two vote getters will earn a seat at the table while the other three will be out of luck.
For those keeping track, this means one of the seven seats will remain unfilled following the election. That will require the board to make an appointment that cannot include a resident from Township 16 N Range 8 E, as that will have made capacity with three representatives, and if Ingram completes the election cycle and takes the third seat for Township 15 N Range 8 E, the seventh, appointed board member will be a resident from one of the other smaller six rural areas.
In the meantime, Superintendent Michael Smith encourages candidates to contact the district office to learn about the board’s goals and initiatives, the district’s budget, and the relationship between the local districts and the state.