OTTUMWA — The ballot for this fall's school board election is full of candidates with family ties to the district.
Three seats are up for grabs on the Ottumwa school board, comprised of seven at-large candidates. Board president Carol Mitchell plans to run again, but two other seats will be vacated by Payson Moreland and Jeff Strunk.
Five other candidates filed as of the deadline Thursday: David Howard, Dr. Charles Coram, Michael Burton, David Weilbrenner and Torey Young.
The election will be held Sept. 10.
Burton, who owns Brickhouse Grill with his wife, is running for the school board to do his civic duty, ask the tough questions and understand the district's policy and procedures. He has two children in the district.
"I couldn't think of a better way to give back to the community," he said. "We just want to make sure that the school system is sound, that the kids are well prepared for the future."
One improvement he wants to see is better communication to the taxpayers and from administration to staff.
"I don't know if it's been lacking, but you just don't hear a whole lot of what's going on," he said. "People need to be kept informed. And I do think there are some questions that need to be asked."
One concerns the new school, Liberty Elementary.
"That decision had some people upset," he said. "Not that they were against it, they just didn't have enough information to ask questions. What was the reason to build one school? What was the reason we didn't build it big enough to accommodate preschool, K-1, to put everyone under one roof? If the goal is to shut down schools, why didn't we spend a little more money and build the infrastructure where we could have ... like in Evans or the high school where everyone is under one roof?"