The longest-serving member of the Knox Community School Board has withdrawn his candidacy for re-election.
Harold Welter, who is the President of the School Board, explained his decision to withdraw.
“The reason is that Federal Communications Commission guidelines would require that WKVI Radio give equal air time to the other seven candidates from Center Township to match the time I am on the air broadcasting sports,” Welter explained. “In past elections, other candidates have been willing to waive their equal-time rights so that I could continue to broadcast ball games. In this election, however, some candidates don’t feel comfortable with allowing that to happen, and therefore have declined to give WKVI a waiver.”
Welter said he had three options.
“I could ask WKVI to grant equal time, but with eight candidates in the field, that would be nearly 500 hours of air time required. That would wreak havoc with their programming schedule and that’s too much to ask. Secondly, I could go off the air between now and November and stop promoting the young people of the Kankakee Valley like I have done for 48 years now. This I’m unwilling to do because our student athletes are too important,” Welter said. “The third option is to withdraw as a candidate, and that’s what I’m doing. I have informed the Starke County Clerk of my decision and directed her to withdraw my name from the ballot.”
Welter was first elected in 1978, the first year of an elected school board and he reminisced about those years.
“When I was first elected, our daughter Susan was one month old,” Welter said. “Now, I have three grandchildren who are students at Knox Elementary School. Back in those days, we were in such bad financial shape that the state of Indiana was about to take over the corporation. Today, we’re one of the most financially-solid corporations in the whole state. Teacher turnover was 30 percent a year; now we have a veteran staff that’s moving forward. What I’m most proud of, though, is the success of our students. Graduation rates are up. Student achievement rates are up, and our graduates are ready for college and career endeavors.”
The seven candidates that will remain on the ballot for Center Township Seats 2, 3, and 4 include incumbent members William Kirk Bennett and Gerald (Jerry) Fletcher, and candidates Dawn M. Bailey, Jeffrey B. Fosler, Wendy McIntire, Larry D. Sennert and Valarie Williams.