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Four incumbents are the only candidates for the Wayne Township School Board

This article was co-published by Chalkbeat Indiana and WFYI as part of a collaboration for the 2022 school board elections. Join Chalkbeat Indiana and WFYI to hear from IPS School Board candidates at a 6 p.m. forum on Wednesday, October 5 at the Indianapolis Public Library, Central Branch . RSVP and submit questions here.

All nominees for election to the Wayne Township Metropolitan School District Board of Trustees are uncontested. Four of the school board’s seven seats are vying for the district in the western part of Marion County, which educates more than 16,000 students. Thirty-seven percent of students are black, 30 percent are Hispanic, and about 67 percent were identified as low-income in the last school year.

This year, nearly 12% of students in Wayne Township passed the math and English sections of the ILEARN test – down 12 points from before the pandemic. The district’s most recent graduation rate is 79.6%, lower than the state average of 87%.

The district is creating a strategic plan that will address issues related to differences in student achievement across racial and income groups. The plan should include some of the strategies outlined in the Indiana Black Academic Excellence Plan developed by the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP.

This election

In November, the incumbents run in each of the races without challengers. Voters residing within the district boundaries may vote for all general candidates.

Who votes and how to vote

Voters within school district boundaries can vote for all races.

Voting register for residents of Marion County ends October 11. Early voting begins October 12 at the Indianapolis City-County Building, and other early voting sites open Oct. 29.

On November 8, residents of Marion County can vote at one of the county polling centers.

Meet the candidates

Four incumbents are running unopposed for their seats at large.

Left to right: Wayne Township School Board members Raimeka Graham, Brandon Bowman, Mike Nance and Ben Wakefield.

Courtesy of Raimeka Graham, Brandon Bowman, Mike Nance and Ben Wakefield

Rameika Graham, on the loose

Graham was appointed to the board in July 2020 and is currently its vice-chair. She has two children who graduated from schools in Wayne Township and one child who currently attends a district school. Graham said she expects the biggest challenge in the year ahead will be the ongoing debate over curriculum and the battles over “divisive concepts” that have emerged from the national debate over the critical race theory.

Brandon Bowman, on the loose

Bowman is seeking his third term and is currently secretary of the board. Bowman is a graduate of Ben Davis High School and works as an operations manager for a mechanical services company. Bowman said his top priority this next term is finding ways to hear from all voters.

Michael D. Nance, at large

For 28 years, Nance has been a member of the Wayne Township School Board. His children graduated from schools in Wayne Township. Nance said his top priority for the upcoming term is fiscal responsibility and making up for lost education time during the pandemic.

Benjamin Wakefield, on the loose

Council chairman Ben Wakefield is a pastor at Lynhurst Baptist Church and has three children in Wayne Township Schools. Wakefield said his plans for the next term are to focus on hiring more teachers and improving educator retention.

Contact Sydney Dauphinais, WFYI Economic Equity Reporter, at [email protected]. Follow on Twitter: @syddauphinais.

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