HEBRON – Lakewood School Board President Judy White said Wednesday morning that board members agreed to appoint Tim Phillips to fill former board member Joe Bowman, Jr.’s position. Bowman resigned June 7.
“It was a tough choice. They all brought good qualities,” said White, referring to the candidates interviewed for the position –Phillips, Cindy Stemm and Nancy Geiger. White said that although Stemm and Geiger were not appointed, board members encouraged them to run for the board when positions open, believing they would both make excellent candidates.
White said Phillips has accepted the position verbally, but he won’t be an official member of the board until the oath of office is administered during a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 6, at the Lakewood School District Administrative Office. “Until the oath is taken, it’s not a done deal,” she said. Bowman was in his second term with about 30 months left in that term. Phillips will have to run in this November’s election to serve the remaining two years of Bowman’s term.
White said Phillips, who has a grandchild in the school district preparing for high school, has helped the district with levy campaigns and “is a man who appreciates data,” which will be very helpful to the board.
“All three were qualified,” said board member Forrest Cooperrider, who agreed with White that he would’ve been comfortable appointing any of the candidates. He ultimately chose Phillips, however, because Phillips has an extensive background working with school districts, “which was an asset,” Cooperrider said.
“I’m familiar with the politics of a school board,” said Phillips, who worked for Columbus City Schools for 35 years, beginning as a computer operator and advancing into management, where he gained experience working with the district’s budget. Since then, he’s a part-time information technology consultant with several area school districts.
Phillips believes contract negotiations “and the budget in general” will be the major issues he’ll face as a board member. As state officials decide how much funding Ohio districts will receive, it will be very challenging for districts to balance their budgets, he said. “It’s really going to be an issue (for the five year forecast),” said Phillips.