Two school board candidates, Aaron Schuster and John Hipskind, voluntarily withdrew their names from the official ballot for Highland School Board after two sitting school board members, Duane Clark and Renee Friedel, objected to their petitions. Both Schuster and Hipskind are now running as write-in candidates.
Clark and Friedel objected to Schuster’s and Hipskind’s petitions alleging they did not have the requisite number of signatures. In order to get on the ballot, a candidate needed 50 signatures of registered voters residing in the school district.
Schuster and Hipskind both had in excess of fifty (50) signatures. However, Clark and Friedel combed through both Schuster’s and Hipskind’s petitions in search of signatures by Highland residents who were not registered to vote. Clark and Friedel went as far as to submit a Freedom of Information Act Request to the Madison County Clerk’s office for the information needed to remove Schuster and Hipskind from the ballot.
“Unfortunately, they found enough people on mine and Aaron’s petitions to take us below the 50 signature requirement,” said Hipskind.
Schuster and Hipskind both voluntarily withdrew their petitions saving themselves from being involuntarily removed from the ballot by Clark and Friedel.
“We both obtained signatures from neighbors and friends who we believed to be registered voters,” said Schuster. “We had no reason to question the integrity of our friends and neighbors.”
Schuster, a high school teacher, and Hipskind, a lawyer and part-time college professor, plan to take an untraditional path to the school board by working together as write-in candidates. “After we received our objections, John and I started talking and discovered that our intentions for running for school board were similar – we both have young kids that will be going through the school system and we both have a desire to serve our community,” said Schuster.
“Aaron is a young teacher that I think can bring a fresh and new perspective to the board,” said Hipskind. “We need to embrace change and find better ways of relating information to students, and I think Aaron is in a prime position as a young educator to recognize what works and what doesn’t.”
Hipskind believes he will also bring an outside perspective to the school board. “As a business owner, lawyer, and college professor I have been involved in the education system in more ways than most,” said Hipskind. “This has given me a unique vantage point that will aid me in working with the other board members to determine what is truly best for the children and taxpayers of Highland.”
Schuster and Hipskind have already started campaigning. The election will be held on April 4, 2017.
Aarron Schuster can be contacted directly via his cell-phone at 618-410-7544
John Hipskind can be contacted directly via his cell-phone at 618-604-5952