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Marion County school board races see some upsets

A teacher checks in on students during a lesson in Washington Township.
A teacher checks in on students during a lesson in Washington Township.
Shaina Cavazos

Almost half of the seats up for grabs in contested school board races in Wayne and Warren townships went to challengers.

Two of three incumbents will return to the Warren Township School Board, and two of four Wayne Township incumbents will continue as well. Warren Township will see one newcomer to the board, while Wayne will have two. The results were fairly close in each race, with no one candidate far outstripping the others.

The winners in those races were Terri Amos, Tony Mendez and Michelle Wright, in Warren Township, and Michael Morrow, Brandon Bowman, Rochelle Olaleye and Mike Nance in Wayne Township according to final, unofficial results from the Marion County Board of Elections. Amos, a teacher from School 31 and Olaleye, an engineer, are two of the new members joining township boards.

At-large school board seats in those townships were among the most competitive in Marion County. Most of the Marion County school board races this year, had incumbents running unopposed.

In Lawrence Township, Richard Freije Jr. defeated April Adjei by more than 2,000 votes. Both were newcomers competing for a seat in northeast township’s District 1. In the at-large race, incumbent Reginald McGregor narrowly beat out Fred Medley, a challenger who did not actively campaign after receiving a appointment to a state parole board by Gov. Mike Pence.

Almost 100,000 students attend school in the townships, Beech Grove and Speedway. Many of the districts have challenges similar to those in IPS: students frequently moving from school to school, increasing poverty and other attributes that can be barriers to higher test scores, such as learning English as a second language or a need for special education services.

The rest of the Marion County school board race results were:

  • Perry Township: Incumbents Stephen Maple, Jon Morris and Edward Denning will keep their District 1 seats.
  • Pike Township: Incumbents Michael Downs, Philip Abrams and Regina Randolph will keep their at-large seats.
  • Washington Township: Incumbents William Turner Jr. and Donald Kite will keep their District 1 and District 2 seats.
  • Beech Grove Schools: Incumbents Rick Skirvin and Jannis L. King will keep their at-large seats. Challenger Christa Smiley also won an at-large seat.
  • Franklin Township: Incumbents Dawn Downer, Scott Sullivan and Larry Walker will keep their NE District, SE District and at-large seats.
  • Decatur Township: Incumbents Cathy Wiseman, Judith Collins and Dale Henson will keep their District 1 and District 3 seats.

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