New Elida school board members vow to ‘restore confidence’ after heated election

ELIDA — A new majority on the Elida school board is promising major changes to how the school district accommodates transgender students.

Unofficial results show voters elected newcomers David Peters, Jaired Birks and Jeffrey Point to the Elida school board Tuesday, following months of protest and backlash to a board policy permitting transgender students to use the restroom of their preferred gender identity.

The accommodations are provided on a case-by-case basis for students who consistently identify as transgender, which outgoing board President Brenda Stocker has said keeps Elida schools in compliance with federal case law.

Peters, Birks and Point campaigned to rescind that policy. They will hold a majority on the five-member board come January.

“This victory belongs to God, for whom I ran in the first place,” Birks wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday, adding, “the people have spoken, and it’s time to make the changes necessary to restore confidence in Elida Schools.”

In a similar post, Point said the board’s next task will be overturning the bathroom policy and examining the district’s finances. “We have a lot to accomplish and will be seeking God’s direction and wisdom to accomplish our mission,” he wrote.

Stocker came within 500 votes of Birks in her re-election bid, losing her seat on the Elida school board for the first time in 15 years. Fellow board members Ira Collier and Ben Troyer also lost their campaigns.

Voters rejected a one-mill renewal levy for Elida schools Tuesday in protest of the district’s transgender accommodations.

This is the second time in six months voters rejected the levy, which has been renewed every five years since 2008 to purchase new buses and laptops, repave parking lots and complete other maintenance and technology projects.

The levy generates about $370,000 per year.

Treasurer Joel Parker told The Lima News in October that the district may need to delay new bus and laptop purchases or slow down its rotation of maintenance projects without the funds.

Unofficial election results for Elida school board

David Peters: 3,217

Ben Troyer: 2,292

Jeffrey Point: 3,301

Jaired Birks: 2,768

Brenda Stocker: 2,289

Ira Collier: 1,779

Renewal levy results

For: 2,541 (42%)

Against: 3,517 (58%)