Three board members will be elected in the Southwest Allen County Schools district Nov. 8, but just one seat is contested. Abraham P. (Abe) Schwab and Bradley M. Mills are excellent candidates, but Schwab would bring a perspective the board is lacking.
John Blum, a local banker, did not seek re-election to the Aboite Township seat he has held since 2000. The district saw a slight dip in enrollment after the state’s voucher law went into effect, but has grown slowly and consistently to nearly 7,200 students. Continued growth and financial constraints pose the greatest challenges.
Schwab, 40, is the parent of two district students and a 2-year-old. An associate professor of philosophy at IPFW and a medical ethicist, he knows first hand what Homestead High School students need to be college-ready. His work in applied ethics – he is chairman of the Allen County Ethics Commission – makes him uniquely qualified to serve as an elected official and to advocate for transparency and accountability.
Schwab said his goal is to improve communication. He cited a survey that asked how the district could better share information with the community, but not on information flowing the other way. Schwab wants to encourage collaborative communication with all district stakeholders.
Schwab said he supported the referendum approved last spring to supplement operating funds. He said the district’s greatest challenge in handling its growth is in hiring and supporting teachers. As an educator, Schwab has a realistic view of the use of technology in learning. He notes that it is important that students learn to think critically and to articulate their views.
"My primary goal is to support teachers as they help students learn," he said. "They need the freedom to use the strategies that work best in their classrooms."
Schwab has strong board experience. In addition to the ethics commission, he served on university boards and on the boards of Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana and Aging and In-home Services.
Mills, 50, the parent of two Homestead graduates and two current SACS students, also is a strong candidate. A contract analyst for Parkview Health, his greatest strength would be in reviewing the district’s business practices.
Meagan K. Milne, in the District 3 at-large seat, and Mark W. Gilpin, in the District 2 seat, are unopposed.