Mishawaka prepares for partially elected school board

Today marked the first day for candidates to file for the first-ever Mishawaka school board elections.

This November, Mishawaka voters will begin the transition from an all appointed school board, to a partially elected one, by filling two school board seats.

Larry Stillson is a nine year veteran of the appointed Mishawaka School Board, but when it comes to elections—he is a rank amateur.

“You know, this is the first election I’ve had, I didn’t even run for student council in high school,” Stillson said.

Yet today, Stillson became a candidate for an elected seat on the Mishawaka board. “I like the concept of the wholly appointed board, but if this is what it is, this is what it is. I've gotten nine years of being on the board, I look forward to continuing, we have a lot of work to do.”

Stillson is one of two candidates who filed today. Both just so happen to be members of the current appointed board.

“Well, I’ve been on since, this is, I’m in the middle of my third year, I was appointed four years ago by the council,” said Richard Currey.

While Currey’s seat is one of the first to be eliminated in the switch to a partially elected board, he doesn’t take it personally.
“I don’t know how it was decided, it was just part of the legislation, they had to start somewhere,” Currey said. “There’s a difference in the mechanism, but not any difference in the job description. Still are dedicated to looking after the best interests of the kids, so it doesn’t matter whether that’s by an appointment or by an election.”

A longtime advocate of an elected Mishawaka school board wasn’t necessarily surprised to see that two familiar faces were the first to file.

“They’re immersed in it monthly, daily, there again, us in the community we're going to work you know, we're busy, now is the time to really do some soul searching and decide, you know, do you want to try and make a difference with our educational process,” said Mike Wojtysiak. “There’s a possibility that I will be running, I’m also calling other people in the community who I think have similar, want to see similar things with our school corporation.”

The candidate filing period runs through August 24th at noon, so there’s plenty of time for interested parties to step forward.

Both of the seats up for election this November at at-large seats. Eventually, the Mishawaka board will have three at-large elected seats, and two appointed seats.

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