Nathan Haber of Orange Village and Dr. Adam Hedaya of Pepper Pike withdrew their petitions for seats on the Orange Board of Education on Sept. 21. Both filed their petitions on Aug. 4, which was the filing deadline.
On Friday, Mr. Haber said he and Dr. Hedaya tried to run together. Both backed out of the race because they are “comfortable” with the current board, Mr. Haber said.
“The reason I put my name into the hat over the summer was because of how upset I was with our kids being held at home most of the school year in Orange,” he said of virtual learning during the 2020-2021 school year due to precautions linked to the coronavirus pandemic. “Solon was in school all year, Beachwood and Chagrin Falls were in school all year and most of the year and Orange was at home most of the year.”
Gov. Mike DeWine ordered all schools in the state to switch to virtual learning from March of 2020 through the end of that academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Orange City School District was in a virtual learning model from the start of the 2020-2021 school year through Nov. 2, when its hybrid model began.
The district returned to a fully virtual model on Nov. 30 due to staffing issues, which continued through Jan. 11. At that time, the hybrid model resumed. The Orange schools began a full-time, in-person learning model on March 1, which continued through the end of the 2020-2021 academic year. This fall, the district returned to classroom learning inside school buildings with no virtual option, which was available last year.
“Now that the kids are back in school and will remain in school, we felt comfortable backing out and letting these three keep their seats,” Mr. Haber said, referring to incumbents Rebecca Boyle, Jeff Leikin and Scott Bilsky, who are running for re-election. “Other than keeping the kids home, the school system is fantastic. It’s a public school with a private school feel. The current board has done something right overall.”
He said that he will continue to be involved in the district, such as periodically attending board meetings and providing school board updates on his podcast, the Optimal Life, which has a local following.
Dr. Hedaya did not return a call from the Times regarding his withdrawal from the race.
The withdrawal deadline has already passed, so their names will still be on the ballots. There will be a notice posted at every voting booth to advise voters that Mr. Haber and Dr. Hedaya withdrew and votes for them will not be counted, according to Bilingual Community Outreach Coordinator Elia Burgos of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. She said that the board of elections also sends the same notice with the absentee ballots.