Spotlight on Anna Bunker  –

Fifth in a series of BOE candidate profiles

By Chuck Gibson

LOVELAND, OH (October 14, 2021) – Election Day 2021 is Tuesday, November 2, and will be here before you know it. With it will come your opportunity to decide who will serve as the majority members of the Loveland City School District (LCSD) Board of Education (BOE).  Loveland School Board candidates have been trying all kinds of ways to meet the voters.

I have been meeting with each of the candidates for one-on-one personal interviews in an effort to learn who they are and what they stand for. Meeting them face-to-face gives you the opportunity to learn about them in their own words.  Several Candidate Profiles already appeared here on Loveland Beacon and were shared on Social Media outlets. In those personal interviews I’ve asked each candidate the key question: How they plan to do what they promise? The intent of these profiles is to provide some additional insight and information to help you, the voters, make a more fully informed choice at the polls on Tuesday, November 2.

PLEASE NOTE: Use the information to inform your decision at the polls. If you don’t have anything good to say, do not say anything at all!

Most importantly, I ask comments be kept civil and respectful toward

ALL CANDIDATES.

Here is the fifth in the series of Candidate Profiles with the Beacon’s Light shining on candidate Anna Bunker:

Anna Bunker, 1st time candidate for Loveland City Schol District Board of Education (Provided)

Anna Bunker is a 10 year resident of Loveland and is a single mother of three children – two boys and one girl. The oldest boy graduated from LHS. The two youngest are currently attending Loveland Schools. Anna is employed as a contract specialist for medical purchasing agreements and real estate agreements.

Q – Loveland Beacon (LB)Why did you decide to run for the Loveland City School District Board of Education?

A – Anna Bunker (AB) – I believe in the public school system, I went through the public school systems. And this district has been fabulous to my kids. And after that first levy request, I felt the need to advocate on behalf of families that I knew it would be a hardship. That’s where it started.

I just want to make sure now we are on the same page. I started with truly the intent of just making sure people understood what was being asked. I just felt it was so big and Loveland, from my experience, and I still believe this, is such a loving and caring community. We passed every levy with no problem. I mean, because we all want good things for our kids. This one was different. From working at the pantry, I knew there was at least 300 families that this was going to be difficult for.  I just wanted people to be aware of how large it was and what the economic impact was going to be on quite a few of our residents. That’s where I started from at that point in time. 

Then doing the research finding out, digging into the roles and responsibilities and what exactly does the school board do? What are they advocating for? What is their bottom line? Because I think there’s a lot of misconceptions to what they actually think and do. They hire and hold accountable the superintendent and treasurer. That’s one of their biggest jobs, and then advocate on behalf of all of the schools out to the community. I wanted to run because I noticed there was a gap in the communications part of it. I give them a lot of credit. The transparency has gone up a ton like hundreds of percents.  Can we still do better? Always. It’s a learning thing. It’s a living thing. It’s changing with the times, trying to keep current, making sure that you’re reaching the most people you can. School is amazing at keeping parents informed. I think they do a great job. As a parent, I feel like I knew, for the most part, what was going on. It was the outliers, community gatherings I would like to see be better. To be fair, you have to want to be informed. You know you can’t just be spoon fed everything. At some point in time, you have to say, I want to know and I want to hear about this and then do some research. I know I personally fell asleep at the wheel. Even though I was involved with schools; I’m on the board of the PTA, and Girl Scouts, like the whole kitten caboodle. I was there, and that levy caught me off guard. So I wasn’t as informed as I thought I was. and shame on me that I wasn’t involved.

This is my home now. Honestly, that was like the big thing for me once I made the decision, this is my home and I want good things for it. This community is amazing. I’ve really truly never seen this amount of care in rallying behind people in need.  When that fire happened, it was amazing how the community came together.  I want to be a part of keeping the community, not necessarily the way it is now, but being respectful, the economic diversity that is here. You see different communities as they turn over in age groups, the communities turn over. Being respectful of the retired folks and our economic diversity here, just being respectful of everybody in the community, I want, I would love to see that continue and not have to push people out of their homes that they’ve lived in their entire life.

(LB) – What’s the number one thing that you want to do as a member of school board?

(AB) – First and foremost, I’d be surprised if anybody said anything different. It’s for the kids and making sure they get the best education they can, within the, number two, financial means of the community. So you got one and two; so education absolutely.  Educating the kids, doing the best things, making sure that when they graduate from a Loveland school they are equipped to be responsible, productive adults. That’s what I expect from my kids. So that’s what I wish for other people’s kids – to be able to leave the school and be successful wherever you go; whether it is the military, college, trade school, or right in the workforce, that you are ready to handle the next phase of your life.

(LB) –  So education, if your primary objective is to make sure Loveland Schools is providing education. How do you do that? How do you bring something as a new member of the school board, that is going to make education better for Loveland Schools?

(AB) – I think a lot of it is expectations; setting the expectations. It’s kind of what I do being a mom. You teach your kids, this is what I expect from you, and then hold people accountable to those expectations. So as a board member, figuring out it isn’t about my expectations, it’s about the community’s expectations, and making sure the community’s expectations are being met by the administration.

(LB) – It’s easy to say, but how do you do that?

(AB) – I truly believe in communication; in not just speaking, listening. Communication is a two way street. It’s not only what you say, it’s what people hear, in being purposeful with your word so you are communicating in a way that is not just talking, but that’s being heard. Being mindful of your audience, and making sure the community knows that you’re there and available, being seen. One thing that they’re doing right now that I absolutely love, is they have been having booths set up at different community events, for the superintendent and different board members to come. It’s just being there and being available. It’s being open, letting people know that you’re not just this little group up in this little office, that you’re out and about and available to the community to ask questions and know that you’re there to listen.

(LB) – You mentioned number two for you is delivering the best education within the community within the school budget within the ability of the community. What do you mean by that?

(AB) – You know right now there’s a lot of discussions going on about bringing back High School busing. That’s a huge hot button topic right now. Everything costs money. If you want to bring it back, I’d love to be able to bring it back. I think that this causes a huge hardship, especially on the kids who are more economically challenged than others, the ones who can’t afford to get a car whose parents can’t afford that. I’ve got two teenage drivers. It’s not cheap to insure two teenage drivers. So, it’s an economic hardship for a lot of families to not have that bus and that’s causing a lot of students having a hard time getting there showing up late, missing classes. It is a big deal. But something’s got to give, whether it’s the taxpayers paying more money, or programs being cut, I mean it’s got to come from somewhere, you can’t just go to the money tree. I know there’s other programs. This is what I’m enjoying the process of going out and meeting people in the community because everybody’s got their own priority list. Really listening: is it the high school busing? In order to get this, you might have to give up something in another place? Are you willing to give that up? How important is it? What is the community’s priority list? That’s not for me to create. That’s for the community to create and then for me to figure out how to make that happen, how to work with the administration. A lot of that is listening, and in trying to make the best decisions with the information.

(LB) – The financial aspect of Loveland City Schools is a priority for you. What do you bring to the Loveland City School Board to make school finances better? How do you do that?

(AB) – It comes back to communication again. We’re going to have to have another levy. It’s impossible to not . . . you can’t say you’re never going to have one, not the way the schools are funded, not going to happen. It has to be a thoughtful levy that takes the community’s financial ability into consideration. Personally, I didn’t agree with that first levy. This one was hard for me because I heard a lot of people say it, but they still voted for it. They knew that there were some financial . . .they weren’t problems. There was a lot of spending happening and until the spending was under control, I didn’t want to give them any more money until I knew processes were in place and the spending was under control. That’s part of it because one of the one of the few things the board member can actually do, I mean, honestly we talked about the responsibility of hiring and firing, the treasurer, and the holding them accountable and then policies and policy management. Then there’s the community aspect of it being the representative of the community. So I see those as three buckets of responsibilities for the board. So with regard regards to the financial part, you know, working with the treasurer, making sure that they are being responsible, that they understand what their role is, and are being responsible and following good practices. If those are all in a line, and we can show the community as a board, this is why it’s important. This is what we need and can communicate that, I think we’ll have a much different result. Like I said, right from the get-go, they’ve done a really good job at providing a lot of this. These changes in transparency and communications with regards to open checkbook and their meeting minutes; I mean everything’s videotaped now. It’s super transparent about what’s going on at board meetings, because you can watch it. I mean, it’s right there. For anybody who wants to be active and involved. You could sit and watch them for days.

(LB) – Is there a third top priority for you?

(AB) – Communication. That’s like my biggest thing. You know what, honestly, I keep hearing about the division in Loveland. I feel it not only in this community, you see it on national news, you see it all over the country. This is not just a Loveland thing that’s happening right now. I’d like to switch the conversation back over to: we’re all in it for the same reason. All eight candidates are great people, all of them. They really are. I believe in my heart all have the kids best interest in mind for this. Keeping that in mind and giving people the benefit of the doubt, I think are huge. Being able to sit and be able to listen, to be an active listener. It makes a big difference. We have way more in common than we do not have in common. Once you can get to that place of understanding where somebody is coming from, and not assuming, but like really understand, like taking the time to reach out and say: What are your thoughts on this? Why did you think that?

Final Question: To Anna for all of you:

(LB) – I am a Loveland City School District voter, why should I vote for Anna Bunker?

(AB) – What I bring to the table is two years worth of advocating on behalf of our schools. Whether you agreed with me or not on whether or not we should have a levy, the fact is I followed what I thought needed to be done. I advocated on behalf of the whole community not just a few. I’ve put in the last two years of my life reading board meeting minutes, going to the meetings, being present, asking the questions, sitting down and talking to the administrators and the board members; really getting into the day-to-day of what’s going on and how it’s going on – just figuring out how things work. I already have some experience. Do I have more to learn? Absolutely. People close to me know I will always advocate for what I think is right. If I see something I don’t think is right, I’ll research it, talk to as many people as I can and if I feel I need to do more to go out and advocate on behalf of it, I’m going to. I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty. I’m not afraid to be told no, if I think something needs to happen, to go out and say what needs to be said. I’m willing to take my personal experiences, things I’ve learned from being a mom, a wife, in the workforce; taking all that experience and trying to find common ground in the community and really listen. Really, using my experience active listening to find a balance, to bring two sides together and find a solution. I’m not the person to come charging in on a white horse. I’m going to sit back, listen, ask questions and then try to get those avenues of communication going to see what we can come up with.

CLICK HERE to visit the website of candidate Anna Bunker

NEXT UP: We hear from Dr. Eric Schwetschenau.