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Nine Southside-area school board seats are up for grabs May 4, but only voters in Franklin and Perry townships will have a choice beyond incumbents seeking re-election.Three seats are up for grabs in Franklin Township, but only the seat serving residents in the northeast quadrant has more than one candidate. Incumbents in the other seats are running unopposed.

Voters in Perry Township will pick three board members from four candidates.

In Beech Grove, all three incumbents are running unopposed. Incumbents Jannis King, Timothy Luttrell and Rickey Skirvin are the only candidates to file for the Beech Grove School Board.

In November, Beech Grove voters approved a referendum to bolster the school’s finances.

Voters overwhelmingly defeated a similar measure in Franklin Township, and the district recently decided to close two elementary schools, lay off dozens of staff members and slash other programs.

While large crowds filled board meetings the past few weeks urging the board to look at alternatives, President Steve Randall said the message from voters is clear and that cuts need to be made.

Parent Dawn Downer and others urged the board to look at other options.

She and Randall are vying for the northeast quadrant seat.

Board members Randall Bland and Christopher Wood are unopposed in the May 4 election.

They voted against closing the schools and for a plan authored by Bland to give the district more time to look at other cuts and another referendum.

Randall questioned whether Bland’s plan is financially solid and indicated it would be risky since a fall referendum would share the ballot with a measure that — if approved by voters — would put the 1 percent property tax cap in the state constitution.

Randall said voters made their wishes clear in November and that another ballot measure would be unlikely to pass.

In Perry Township, incumbents Stephen Maple and Jon Morris are among four candidates running for the three open seats on the School Board.

Edward Denning and Michael Sturm also are on the ballot.

The three candidates with the most votes in the May 4 primary will serve on the board.

Current board member Nancy Walsh is not seeking re-election.

Morris was appointed to the board last month to fill the seat vacated by Barbara Thompson, who moved out of the school district.

Perry Township voters also voted down a referendum Nov. 3. It was for a districtwide building project to make repairs and upgrades to aging schools.

from indystar.com

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