Bill R. Wyss Jr. is one of three candidates running together for positions on the Louisville City School Board.
Wyss explained he is running alongside Richard Crislip and Barbara DJacimo because the three of them share many of the same ideas and also were able to share resources to finance their campaigns.
The three candidates were named by the Leopard Advisory Council, which was a group of parents and community members that met to discuss their disappointment in how things had unfolded within the district over the last year.
Wyss is a 57-year-old graduate of nearby Marlington High School. He first received a BA from the University of Mount Union and an MA from Ohio University before pursuing an internship and career in Washington D.C. for several years.
He returned to Nimishillen Township where he took a job as a curator at the McKinley Presidential Library and Museum.
He has lived in the township now for 26 years but noted his career lead him to be involved with nearly every Stark County school district and he developed a love and passion for education.
At the age of 35, he pursued a second career and returned to the University of Mount Union where he received a teachers certificate and eventually was hired and taught at Louisville City Schools for 19 before retiring in 2016.
Wyss stressed that the current board members aren’t bad people, but suggested they’ve made bad decisions.
He cited both short-term and long-term goals if elected.
“Over the last couple of years, we’ve been attending a lot of board meeting and we’re really disappointed in democracy and the lack of openness in the meetings itself,” explained Wyss. “We see an agenda where there’s no discussion. They announce a topic and then they vote five to one to approve it and then they move on.”
Wyss also shared his concern when considering the limitations of public discussion during meetings and the difficult journey for approval to speak before the board.
“Currently you need to contact the school board seven days in advance and you need to tell them what your topic is, and they reserve the right to either approve or disapprove.”
Wyss said he’d like to see an immediate change to the format of meetings that allows the board to be more open to the public and invite the community.
He cited other area school districts as resources noting many don’t require sign up lists or advance notice and policies that ensure the public a member of the board will be in touch to discuss the topic at hand within a month.
A long-term goal Wyss shared is to improve academically.
He explained he understands the district is doing well overall, but not quite as well as in years passed.
“The most recent state report card and we weren’t in the top 100 schools where we’ve been consistently for quite a while.”
Wyss looks to have an opportunity to enhance academics, enhance special programs such as advanced placement programs and special needs programs so to meet the needs of all our students.
“It’s about openness and democracy. There are some complex problems and I don’t nearly have all the solutions the idea is that school board members are elected representatives of the people. So, we want to hear what people have to say and see if we can do the things that the public wants.”
Michaela Madison Reporting
Jon M. Aljancic – No contact information available.
Donald L. Barthel – Did not return a call for comment.