CINCINNATI -- Four months before the filing deadline, the Cincinnati Public School Board race is already getting crowded.
Nine people, including incumbent Daniel Minera, have pulled petitions to become a candidate for one of the four school board seats up for election Nov. 7. Another two incumbents -- School Board President Ericka Copeland-Dansby and Vice President Melanie Bates -- say they will campaign for re-election.
"No matter what, there'll be at least one non-incumbent joining our board," Bates said.
Candidates have until Aug. 9 to file their candidacy with the Hamilton County Board of Elections.
The school board race is on-track to be nearly as large as in 2009, when voters chose from a slate of 12 candidates. Board of Elections archives show three people vied for school board seats in 2015, nine in 2013 and four in 2011.
According to the Board of Elections, the people who have pulled petitions to run for Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education so far this year include: Christine Fisher, a finance manager at Procter & Gamble; financial coach and business owner Marcia A. Futel; Ryan Messer, a regional business director at Johnson & Johnson who has been active in the Over-The-Rhine community; Renee Hevia, an assistant principal in Sycamore Community Schools; and Mike Moroski, executive director of UpSpring.
Other potential candidates are Samuel M. Burbanks. Thomas R. Chandler, Gary Favor, Kareem T. Moffett and Flora Young.
No one has a definite explanation for what might be bringing out the large number of candidates, but former school board candidate and education consultant Mary Welsh Schlueter said the Preschool Promise, the five-year $48 million tax levy that passed in the fall, might have played a role.
"It goes in waves," said Welsh Schlueter, CEO of Partnership for Innovation in Education, which works in more than half of Cincinnati public schools. "You get a lot of press for any initiative -- both good and bad -- and people think, 'My skills can make an impact here.' "