The Seymour Community School Corp. board of trustees will see the return of Nancy Franke and the addition of Joe Tormoehlen come January after votes were counted Tuesday in this year’s midterm election.
Tormoehlen, who received 4,344 votes or 35.8 percent of the vote, will fill the at-large seat held by Stu Silver for 12½ years. Silver decided not to run for a fourth term in office.
Franke, elected to a third four-year term, received 4,710 votes or 38.8 percent, and Reuben Cummings received 3,082 votes or 25.4 percent.
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Also elected Tuesday were incumbents John Kelley and Max Klosterman, who ran unopposed. Kelley represents Redding Township and Klosterman represents Washington Township on the board.
Tormoehlen thanked all of the voters who supported him and expressed congratulations to all of the winners Tuesday in Jackson County.
“It’s humbling to win,” he said. “I look forward to sitting on the board with Nancy and the others.”
Franke said she is ready to continue working with administrators, teachers, parents, students and the community to move the school district forward.
The school board’s role will be vital in choosing the school system’s next superintendent in 2019. Current Superintendent Rob Hooker will retire Dec. 31 of this year. An interim leader will be chosen before then.
“There is more work than ever before to keep our schools strong and thriving in our growing community,” she said. “I look forward to the new vision and goals we will navigate through in the coming months as we connect with community stakeholders.”
Tormoehlen said hiring a new superintendent is a “big decision.”
“At this time, it’s the most critical thing ahead of us, and we’ll start that process in January,” he said. “We’ve got a big job to do.”
One of the biggest challenges the corporation is facing is growth, and Franke said it’s an issue the school board needs to push.
“In the past six years, our student population has grown by 800 students,” she said. “That is a 20 percent increase.”
Franke said she has visited the Sixth Grade Center, Seymour Middle School and Seymour High School.
“Our students are walking around like a pack of sardines,” she said. “And the incoming grades to these buildings are even larger in numbers. Our community must get on board to help us address this issue.”
Tormoehlen said he will have to get up to speed on the issue of enrollment and what is feasible for the district and the community.
“I need to look at where we are concerning our buildings and our current bond issues and debt, but if we continue to grow, we’re going to have to build or add on,” he said. “It’s really our only options.”
Franke said it will take cooperation from all involved to make the best decisions.
“Our students come first, and we will need to invest more time and energy in making things happen in the best interest of our next generation,” she said. “I hope the entire community will roll up their sleeves and work together to make these opportunities come to fruition.”
Whatever decisions are made, Tormoehlen said he will vote on issues with the school system’s best interests in mind.
“We don’t want to accept mediocrity,” he said.
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Seymour Community School Corp. board of trustees
At-large (two seats)
Nancy Franke (incumbent) 4,710
Joe Tormoehlen 4,344
Reuben Cummings 3,082
John Kelley (unopposed) 6,227
Max Klosterman (unopposed) 6,330