Spotlight on Al Juram –
Third in a series of BOE candidate profiles
By Chuck Gibson
LOVELAND, OH (October 5, 2021) – Election day 2021 is fast approaching, signs are popping up all around our community, Tuesday, November 2, 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).
I have reached out to each of the candidates to conduct personal interviews in an effort to learn who they are and what they stand for. In today’s social media driven world, each has created a website providing their own description of who they are, why they are running for election to the school board, and what they plan to accomplish if elected. Going beyond their webpage, in a personal interview with each candidate, I am asking the key question: How they plan to do what they promise? I hope these profiles will provide some additional insight and information to help you, the voters, make a more fully informed choice at the polls on Tuesday, November 2.
Here is the third in the series of Candidate Profiles with the Beacon’s Light shining on candidate Al Juram.
Al Juram is 53 years old, lives in Loveland with his wife Ellen and their three children: Christian, an LHS sophomore and twins Ryan and Claire are in eighth grade at the LMS.
They have lived in Loveland since moving here in 2004. He has been a youth sports coach for 10 years, and is on the board of the Loveland Youth Baseball (LYB) as well as active as a coach at the middle school. His youth sports involvement has given him a lot of experience with kids in the community. Juram has spent the last 30 years working in all aspects of the steel industry from manufacturing to sales and all business aspects of the industry.
Q – Loveland Beacon (LB) – Why are you running for Loveland City School District Board of Education?
A – Al Juram (AJ) – The next steps, what really motivated me to go this direction. A couple neighbors came by and asked if I’d sign Colette’s petition (re: candidate Colette Boyko) to get on the ballot. I know Colette, actually, no, I knew her husband, Matt through baseball. So when I was talking to these ladies, gladly I’ll sign it and they said, you know, you should run. Why would you say that I should run? One of them said because you’re not afraid to speak your mind and be fair with the people that you’re talking to. You’ve always been that way. You tell someone your opinion and you’re not even mean- spirited about it. That’s fair enough. I thought about, you know, my dad was in the army in World War II and he always taught us to be honest; you got to do the right thing. When something’s not right, you got to stand up, say it’s not right. But I really thought about my mother. I thought if I asked my mom, mom, should I do this? She’d say, absolutely. You need to do it, not only for your kids. But for the other kids that are out there. You got to try to, I think we’re failing. Like, for example, let’s just say that Loveland schools go in such a fashion that we, my wife and I, really are not happy with what we’re seeing from a curriculum. We have the wherewithal to put them in a private school. Okay, not everybody does, right. And my feeling about that is I’m fighting for the ones that don’t have the wherewithal to take their kid out of the school and put them in a private school.
(LB) – You have a website with Colette Boyko and Elizabeth Mason for the three of you as candidates for Loveland School Board. What does that mean? What is that? What do you hope to do for Loveland Schools if elected?
(AJ) – Well, I think the three of us are obviously individuals that have a lot of shared beliefs in regards to where we’d like to see things go for the Loveland schools. We believe that the three of us together, if all three of us elected, are elected, gives the board the best opportunity to move the schools in the direction that the three of us agree with. That’s no CRT (Critical Race Theory), doing something to address the financial situation, and clearly not a no vote on a levy. I think we need to have a levy. Just go up to Rich Road right about now (NOTE: Juram was referring to about the time school lets out in the afternoon) and try to pick a kid up at the high school because there’s no High School busing. It’s a mess. I can’t promise anything that we could fix it, but it’s certainly we need to look at somehow improving the services. We all agree that more money needs to be put into the classrooms. When you take a look at our administration, are we to top heavy? Then there’s all these things that we talked about together and we feel that the three of us together give us the best opportunity to go that way. I think we need a business approach to this situation. And we have Kathy, who is a lifelong educator; correct me if I’m wrong. Kevin is a businessman. I think that we have to look at this, again, keep going back to a business, it’s a big business, and you have to figure out a way to run it better for the constituents that are involved. And I think the three of us give us give the board a better opportunity.
(LB) – Okay, you talk about making the business of the schools better for constituents. How? How do you make the business of LCSD better?
(AJ) – Okay. So if you take a look at an organization that has constant turnover, we’ve had constant turnover, the superintendent position. Any good organization has to have a solid culture. If you don’t have a good culture in the organization, whether it’s a baseball team, or whether it’s a steel processing company or our financial services for a school. And it sure seems to me that the culture in Loveland is not very good, because you have so many people fighting with one another. So you say, Okay, how are you going to change that.
(LB) – That’s the question. How do you change that divided Loveland City School District? How do you bring the people back together?
(AJ) – That’s a great question. And I wish I had a magic bullet answer. I think it’s, not having served on the board, not being privy to a lot of the things that have transpired amongst that group and with some members of the community. I think we have to be, and I haven’t been to that many school board meetings, I’ve been the one. I think we have to figure out a way to engage the community. We have to figure out a way to encourage the community to stand up and be engaged in what we’re doing. Because you know, the most, the highest percentage of your tax dollars are going to the school districts. Good schools aren’t only important for the child, which that’s the first thing, but it’s also good for the community. So I don’t know, I don’t know if we have to hold more town halls outside of the board meetings. You know, I go to that board meeting. I’m sitting behind Plexiglas; you get 30 seconds to speak, or two minutes to speak. It all seems very adversarial. We have to get rid of it. I mean, you have to have people somehow get involved. I’d like to ask the question of the school board. The members are on the school board right now. How much time do you spend talking to the community? How many people are you calling on and touching that are not in your circles? Are you going out and asking: hey, what can we do better, what would you like to see different? My gut tells me it’s not very high.
(LB) – So one, the business on the schools is a reason that you want to be there and things you want to see the business of the schools better. And then curriculum is a concern for you. What is it that sneaks into the curriculum, and you’re going by examples that you’ve seen. You know, like a book. Why is that in the classroom, and the concerns about the potential for the diversity stuff, becoming part of the curriculum? How do you address those concerns?
(AJ) – I just look at it this way. We often look at things historically; the way we were raised and what we experienced, right? That’s all I got. So I sit here and I say, these children, these young adults, they need to be taught in such a fashion to prepare them for the next phase of life, whatever that may be. One of the things I’d like to see is pursue more of the traits, we all force all these kids to go to college, they’re all going to go to college. There’s so many good job in the trades and manufacturing out there that we don’t even think about. The kids can graduate from high school, they could be trained, paid by a company to go into a job and have a trade that they can use forever. I mean, we’ve lost a generation of people that work with their hands, and not necessarily with their hands; there’s a lot of mechanized and a lot of these, we saw a lot of guys that use laser and automated press brakes. They put a sheet of steel in, laser cuts it out automatically goes to a press break made into a part. You know, in manufacturing right now, one of the biggest problems you have, like everywhere else, is people, can’t get people to work. So I just I feel like, Chuck in some ways, we’re, trying to reinvent America in a bad fashion. This is the best, you know, what do they always say? This is the best experiment that’s ever been made and face of the Earth is the United States of America. And we’re trying to change it. And we’re trying to get away from our roots and I worried about that. I really do.
As stated in the beginning of his profile, Al Juram is also part of a three candidate group which includes Colette Boyko and Elizabeth Mason (each first time candidate for the board) Each appears on the ballot separately as one independent choice for voters, but they have chosen to campaign together.
“And I think that we have to look at this, again, keep going back to a business, it’s a big business, and you have to figure out a way to run it better for the constituents that are involved,” said Juram. “And I think the three of us give us give the board a better opportunity.”
CLICK HERE to visit the website of candidate Al Juram
NEXT UP: We hear from Elizabeth Mason.