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An opportunity for somebody to step up Tackaberry resigns from CCA school board

Clear Creek Amana School Board member Jeff Tackaberry listens as a speaker accuses the district of a history of racism during the public comments portion of a regular meeting on Wednesday, July 15. Tackaberry, elected to the board in November, has since resigned, creating a vacancy on the seven-member board of education. (photo by Chris Umscheid)

OXFORD– Residents of Tiffin and parts of the surrounding area have the opportunity to join the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Community School District Board of Education. Jeff Tackaberry, the District 3 representative, resigned his seat, creating the vacancy.
According to a public notice CCA Board Secretary Lori Robertson released on Tuesday, July 21, the board intends to fill the vacancy by appointment. Eligible voters in the CCA district can file a petition requiring the vacancy to be filled by special election. Robertson must receive the petitions within 14 days of the notice being published. A resident of District 3, which includes Tiffin plus parts of Madison, Clear Creek, and Oxford townships, can also apply for consideration for appointment to the board.
Forms for requesting a special election, and applying for the vacancy are available on the district’s website, www.ccaschools.org under the “Board of Education” tab.
Tackaberry was elected to the board last November, running unopposed for the seat vacated by Steve Swenka. He expressed frustration with the board’s leadership during a Wednesday, July 15, regular meeting of the board, which featured an extended public comments session where over 50 individuals, many representing the group A Better Way Forward, excoriated the district regarding racial issues.
“I hear these people who hurt. These are peoples’ real experiences, and they’re hurting and I hear them and I hurt with them,” he said. “I sat here and endured scorning tonight. This board threw this on me as a board member tonight with no heads up. I didn’t even know this group existed until two days ago. But it is not fair, as a board member, to be sitting here and feel like I’m blindsided by something that I have no knowledge of.”
Tackaberry said he expected, as a board member, to be filled in on the history behind issues brought before him for a decision and board action.
He continued, “I’m very bothered that two or three, or four individuals had insight of things that I was never privy to. And yet I sit here and I endure scorn.” He also took issue with the venue and format of the comments, saying it could have been better to meet in a civil discussion with individuals rather than the one-sided (board members are unable to respond back during public comments) affair it was.
“I’m interested in how we get people of color and diversity on this board,” he said and extended an offer to those still in attendance or watching online. “I was basically begged to come on the board, another white guy. Well hey, talk with me folks! I’d be glad to talk with you about how I can make a timely departure and get a person of color or diversity on this board. I’m glad to do that. But the responsibility is yours, too, community, not just ours. As a responsible community, how about we encourage some folks of color (to run for the board) the next go-around? Shoot, tell me where my exit door is and it can happen any time.”
The board of education consists of three at-large directors and four district directors serving a specific geographic part of the CCA district. Directors are elected to four-year terms in November of odd-numbered years. Tackaberry’s term would have expired in November of 2023.
For more information about applying for the vacancy, petition details and signatory requirements, contact CCA Board Secretary Lori Robertson at 319-828-4510 or lorirobertson@ccaschools.org.