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Beech Grove school board members run unopposed in upcoming election

A woman stands behind a voting screen that says IndyVOTES

Three incumbents are running unopposed for their seats on the school board for Beech Grove, which is working on a grow-your-own-educator program to help with staffing issues in the district.

Dylan Peers McCoy / Chalkbeat

This article was co-published by Chalkbeat Indiana and WFYI as part of a collaboration ahead of the 2022 school board elections. Join Chalkbeat Indiana and WFYI to hear from candidates for IPS school board at a forum at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5 at the Indianapolis Public Library, Central Branch. RSVP and submit questions here.

Three of the seven seats on the Beech Grove City Schools board are up for election in November — and only incumbents are running. 

Beech Grove is southeast of Indianapolis, and the district has about 3,000 students. 

The district is working to address the teacher shortage and challenges with staff retention, which is an issue for many area schools. In 2020, voters in Beech Grove approved an operating referendum that included giving teachers and staff raises as a way to keep them in the district. 

Additionally, the district recently launched a grow-your-own-educator program as a way to get students experience in teaching before college and direct them back to Beech Grove after college, WISH-TV reported. This summer, the board also voted to increase substitute teacher pay. 

Also in 2020, Beech Grove voters approved a construction referendum to pay for  improvements to the district’s school buildings as well as a new early-childhood center. The Hornet Park Early Childhood Center opened this school year. 

Beech Grove’s superintendent, Laura Hammack, started in the summer of 2021. All three of the board members running for reelection were members of the board that hired Hammack in a unanimous vote. 

This election

Current board members Rob Challis, Jannis King, and Rick Skirvin are all running for reelection without opposition. 

Who votes and how to vote

Voters who live within the Beech Grove school district will have all three at-large school board races on their ballot.  

Voter registration ends on Oct. 11. Marion County residents can register to vote at indianavoters.in.gov

Early voting begins on Oct. 12 at the Indianapolis City-County Building at 200 E. Market St. Additional early voting sites open on Oct. 29 and can be found online at https://vote.indy.gov/early-voting/

On Election Day on Nov. 8, Marion County residents can vote at any of the county’s voting centers, which can be found at https://vote.indy.gov/

Meet the candidates

Three candidates, all incumbents, are running for three at-large positions on the school board.

Rob Challis, at large

Challis was first elected to the Beech Grove school board in 2018  and is currently the board’s vice-president. He works for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and owns RC Property Management. He’s also a nonvoting advisor on the Beech Grove Redevelopment Commission.

Jannis King, at large

King, the school board president, has been on the board for more than a decade. She works as a part-time substitute teacher with Kelly Services, a staffing company. King serves as an ex-officio member of the Beech Grove Parks and Recreation Board as the school board appointee.

Rick Skirvin, at large

A lifelong resident of Beech Grove, Skirvin is a graduate of Beech Grove High School and has four kids, according to an article from The Southside Times. He has been on the school board for 15 years. Per his candidate filing, he works at CryoVation, a cryogenic gas installation and service company. 

Skirvin ran for Beech Grove mayor in 2019 but lost to Mayor Dennis Buckley. 

This article has been updated with early voting sites.

MJ Slaby is the bureau chief for Chalkbeat Indiana. Contact MJ at mslaby@chalkbeat.org.

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