MEDINA — For school board member Tom Cahalan, it was time to pass the baton.
Taking a cue from former Superintendent Dave Knight, Cahalan announced he will not run for re-election when his term expires Dec. 31.
His decision means there will be three seats to fill in the Nov. 7 election, although Rebecca Parkhurst and Rob Skidmore said they plan to seek re-election to four-year terms.
Cahalan, who spent almost five years on the board, said he made a difficult decision not to seek a third term.
“The main reason to announce it at this point was to make sure people have time to get petitions turned in (by Aug. 9),” Cahalan said. “The goal would be to have quality candidates.
“I want to give someone else the opportunity to do the same thing. It was a fantastic honor to serve on the board.”
He was appointed to the board in March 2013 when he took Rob Wilder’s spot. He is the longest-serving member of the board.
Cahalan, 54, was re-elected in November 2013, in the aftermath of the Randy Stepp controversy. Stepp, the former Medina superintendent, was fired that same year after a state audit found more than $4,000 in what was termed “illegal spending” and more than $1.5 million in spending that wasn’t properly documented.Stepp has filed a lawsuit and the appeals court has ruled it can proceed.
Had Cahalan been successful in running for another term, it would have been a nine-year run.
“That seemed long to me,” he said.
He said the board made significant accomplishments, mainly hiring new Superintendent Aaron Sable, Treasurer Dave Chambers and implementing a five-year strategic plan.
Cahalan said he was thrilled when Medina passed the levy in November 2013.
“That was cool to be a part of that,” he said.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my five years. I have gained a tremendous understanding and respect for all those involved that make this district thrive.”
When Knight announced his retirement last year, he handed out batons in a symbolic gesture to everyone in the audience.
“It was good to carry the baton,” Cahalan said. “I’m next in a series in running a relay. You hand it off in the best condition you can.”
He was commended by Sable for his dedication.
“You have played a major role in helping move our district forward,” Sable said. “Your dedication to our students and the community is much appreciated.”
Cahalan was president of the school board for about a year and a half.
“If there’s any sadness, we’re clicking as a board,” he said. “The board, community and district are in alignment now.”
He’s a personal trainer at the Medina Community Recreation Center. He and wife, Joanie, have two children, Daniel, 24, and Shannon, 20.
The Medina County Board of Elections is accepting requests for petitions with a filing deadline of 4 p.m. Aug. 9. For more information, visit www.boe.co.medina.oh.us.
The board’s two other members — Doug Eastwood and Ron Ross — were elected in November 2015 and are in the middle of their terms.
Board members earn $120 per meeting.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.