Ohio’s Tea Party activists focused on school board races around the state in last week’s election, and they lost big in most cases. Springboro, Olentangy and Westerville all saw their Tea Party candidates go down in flames.

West Clermont Local School District wasn’t so lucky.

In West Clermont, Tea Party member Jim Lewis received the most votes, followed closely by Steve Waldman and Mark Merchant.  Lewis, Waldman and Merchant ran together on a Tea Party-inspired platform that vows to protect overtaxed citizens from mooching, overpaid teachers.

According to his candidate questionnaire on Cincinnati.com, Lewis admits to being an “active Tea Party member” as well as Chairman of the Union Township Republican Central Committee, a member of the Clermont County Republican executive committee,  and an “active member” of the Cherry Grove Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

On the same questionnaire Lewis claims he is running because he wants to elect conservatives to the board who will fight against teachers unions and prevent school levies from getting on the ballot.   Lewis specifically mentions the Springboro School District as a model for West Clermont schools.  

Springboro, you may remember, became a national joke when their Tea Party school board members tried to introduce Creationism and Christian Nationalism into the district’s curriculum.   In the most recent election, Springboro overwhelmingly voted against the Tea Party candidates.

Throughout the candidate questionnaire  Lewis rants about teachers being overpaid, unions having too much control and how he’d like to cut unnecessary classes while shifting to online learning and sharing teachers with other school districts.

When asked about Common Core standards, Lewis goes into a full-on, Tea Party, Glenn Beck-fueled, conspiracy theorist rant about the educational standards actually being “disguised leftist propaganda” that the federal government will use to force your children to submit to unwanted “iris scans” while burdening them with “wireless wristbands to measure pulse, blood pressure, and skin moisture.”   Needless to say, none of this is true.

Just from his public statements, it’s clear Lewis is a Tea Party wackadoodle hell bent on “reforming” West Clermont schools in the worst possible way.

But an email obtained by Plunderbund, sent by Jim Lewis to his supporters at the Clermont Liberty PAC, makes it clear Lewis plans to use his new position follow the anti-teacher, socially conservative, anti-levy Springboro model through to its logical end: the destruction of the public system of education.

In the letter Lewis claims he wants to “go about changing the culture of the staff and faculty” i.e. stop expecting to actually get paid a reasonable wage for your work.

In my mind,” writes Lewis, “the fate of our future as a nation depends turning back the hands of time and teaching our children instead of propagandizing them.”

Lewis also vows to fight against any new school levies that might be proposed by ” ill-informed do-gooders” and he he ends his letter with this extremely disturbing request:  “We need your help and prayers as we go forward to slay the dragon that is public education in West Clermont.”

It’s clear Lewis views himself as a knight in shining armor, riding into town with a sword in one hand and a bible in the other.    And in Lewis’s delusional tale, the West Clermont School System and its teachers are an evil, fire-breathing beast that needs to be killed, or at least chained to the walls of a dark cave.

The students, teachers and families of West Clermont need a school board focused on ensuring the children in their district receive the highest quality education possible.   Instead, they will have a board run by a right-wing idealogue who gets his information about educational standards from Glenn Beck, a guy who thinks teachers are the enemy, a guy who believes schools should be starved of funding, a guy who thinks we need to ‘turn back the hands of time’ on education.

It’s a sad day for West Clermont.  But if Lewis really does plan to follow the Springboro model, then it shouldn’t be long before he wears out his welcome.

  • Katietoo

    Thank you for reporting this. Glad someone is watching!

  • Think.

    Yes- EVERYONE needs to be watching and speaking up!

  • Think.

    Tea Party = ALEC’s Tool

  • BigDaddy Walker

    Sounds like Democrats and Republicans are a little nervous. So it is time they start beating down people that don’t support their agenda.

  • Michael C. Thompson

    Get real, this group wants to destroy public education, they don’t want to improve anything. If people like this idiot had their way, we’d have a generation of morons who can’t spell anything beyond a five letter word. We almost do already!

  • Mark

    I feel sorry for West Clermont. I would never move to a town that elects people like this. Springboro saw their real estate market plummet and I imagine the same will happen here.

  • David Johns

    This is some scary stuff. Unfortunately, all people saw was ‘I am against the levy’ which was all it took to get elected to the WC School Board this year…

    It appears things are going to get much worse before they get better, especially with this nut at the helm of the Board. Expect contentious negotiations with teachers, if not strikes. Certainly no solutions will be forthcoming.

  • Tonja Arnold

    My friends from other states (and countries) typically do not understand this, but here in Cincinnati, when someone asks you where you’re from, you tell them what high school you went to. While I certainly don’t define myself enitrely by my high school experience, I am disheartened and enraged to hear what what is happening in my old school district.

    Granted, I no longer live in this district, but many of my childhood friends still do and continue to raise their families there. If this paradigm shift takes hold, where teachers are viewed as the enemy, and science is relegated to propaganda status and viewed as merely a form of political indoctrination, their ENTIRE LIVES and the quality of their familiy’s lives will be severely diminished and disrupted, as extra curricular programs disappear, teachers leave, education standards disappear, and property values drop.

    My friends and family who chose to stay in West Clermont and send their kids through the same public school system that we graduated from are essentially being crapped on by those who have already raised their children and gotten what they want out of the system. It’s now being run, not by the people who volunteer tirelessly in the community, but by those who pay the least amount of taxes and do not care about anything except their own bottomline come tax time.

    If you value education, not just for the individual, but for it’s value in and on society, you MUST keep these terrorists out of and off of your school boards. The parents and family members who have invested in and given freely of their time, money, energy, blood, sweat, and tears to their communities shouldn’t have to pull their children out of school or consider moving because some old hillbillies in the twilight of their lives can save a couple hundred bucks. West Clermont schools should NOT be run by those who seek to de-fund education and don’t believe the statistics that clearly prove the correlation between education and health or other socio-economic factors. West Clermont Schools should NOT be run by people who don’t care about it simply because they won’t be around to see happens when when access to education is limited.

    But my friends will see it. And their children will see it. Or, as the case may be, they will not see it because they will be denied the opportunity to grow up and flourish in the same community that their families did, and worked so hard to preserve for them.

    Look, none of us like taxes, but REAL patriots don’t just care about the country they live in, they care about the one they leave behind.

    /End rant.

  • Tonja Arnold

    I wish more people knew what ALEC is and how they divert money from our communities into their own legislative machine.

  • Tonja Arnold

    That’s pretty much how democracy works, pal.

  • Tonja Arnold

    Idiocracy isn’t too far off.

  • John Smith

    Jim Lewis has been arrested for Domestic Violence, WOW what a man. NOT!

  • McLovin3533

    And all of us are sleeping while Nero fiddles away.

  • Fred

    Not that levies have a snowball’s chance in Hell of passing anyway….

  • Calvin Pauley

    Some teachers openly yearn for the day when they could just teach instead of herding the students around all day, while labor union leaders and brainwashed enabschool board

  • McLovin3533

    Do you live in the district, and if so do you have children in the district? If not, you have no business commenting here on issues about which you clearly know nothing.

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