Eastpointe school board race will include write-in candidates

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published October 24, 2018

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EASTPOINTE — Without enough candidates officially running for the Eastpointe Community Schools Board of Education in the election on Tuesday, Nov. 6, the outcome of two seats likely will come down to write-in candidates

On the ballot, there are two candidates, Julie Ann DeVita and Chineva Early, both incumbents, running for three four-year terms on the board, while another candidate, Edward Williams, is running for one of two partial terms ending on Dec. 31, 2020.

“We have three people on the ballot for five open positions,” Eastpointe Superintendent Ryan McLeod said. “They are essentially running unopposed, so they all should be elected in November. … I do know there are some people who have declared they are running as write-in candidates though.”

As of Oct. 18, two individuals have registered as write-in candidates with the city of Eastpointe. Candidates must be registered as write-in candidates for a write-in vote for them to count.

“Anybody who wants to file as a write-in candidate can do so until 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26,” said Kimmy Rich, the elections clerk for Eastpointe. “To count any write-in votes, you have to be a declared write-in candidate. There are write-in spaces under the printed candidates. You just write in the name in the space and fill in the ‘write-in’ bubble on the ballot.”

With three candidates registered on the ballot or as write-in candidates for the three full terms, and two candidates registered as either a ballot candidate or a write-in candidate for the partial term, both races should have enough people to fill the unoccupied seats.

However, if that were not the case, McLeod said there is a process in place should there be too few people interested in running for the school board and no write-in candidates available to win the other vacancies. 

“What would happen is we would post a temporary appointment, and people could still express an interest in the position,” McLeod said. “The sitting board members would then interview those interested in the position and (the candidate) would then be appointed by the board. That appointee would have to run in the next election in which school board members are elected in order to stay on the board.”

The school district has had to fall back on this contingency in the past.

We’ve had this problem previously,” McLeod remarked. “Two of our current board members, Chineva Early and Taylor Monday, were originally appointed in this way.”

The two write-in candidates, as of Oct. 18, are Keith Ward, who is running for the full term, and Robert D. Roscoe, who is running for the partial term.

“I have not been on the board before but … I am a product of this district, and my whole family is,” said Ward. “I have seen the changes, and I would like to make more positive changes. I know what this district is capable of doing. These kids deserve everything they can get.”

Roscoe could not be reached for comment by press time.

“I am a graduate of East Detroit High School, my wife is a graduate of East Detroit High School, my oldest daughter is a graduate of East Detroit High School and my daughter is about to graduate,” Ward said. “I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years, some of it good, some of it bad. I wasn’t planning on running, but there were only three people running for five seats, and that’s not fair to the schools, and that’s not fair to the kids. It was a decision I made with my family. I have been very involved with the schools throughout my life. I don’t know how much of a difference I can make; this is something new for me, and I want to try.”

McLeod hopes more people will get involved in the process of running and organizing the school district in the future, saying it’s an important aspect of every community.

“Being on the school board is a big responsibility,” said McLeod. “It’s more than just a couple of one-hour board meetings a month. … They have to make big decisions and create important policy measures that affect our schools and our kids. It is a lot of work, so there is some turnover in the positions, but being on the school board is a great way for the community to get involved in the success of our district.”