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Former Valparaiso mayor appointed to school board

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screenshot from meeting video
School board candidates Jennifer Buck and Jon Costas answer questions during the second round of interviews with the Valparaiso City Council on May 31.

Valparaiso's former mayor will soon be joining the city's school board. Jon Costas was unanimously appointed to the school board by the city council Tuesday.

During the second round of interviews, Costas said his 16 years as mayor give him unique insight when addressing issues like school safety. "It's a large, important organization. Not a lot of people have had experience with large boards and large amounts of money. I have, all my life, and I'm a proven leader. It seems to me that it would be appropriate for a season to put me in that position because it's such an important organization," Costas said.

Valparaiso Community Schools is one of the few local districts that has an appointed school board. Costas defended that system, saying it attracts members who are qualified but are not interested in the political process. The only other candidate, Jennifer Buck, favored switching to an elected board.

She said that while she may not have any political experience, she is passionate about education. "I can either sit and complain about the way the world's going or I can do something about it, so I chose to do something about it. I may not have ever served on the board. I certainly have never been a mayor, but I am a natural-born leader," Buck told the council

While council members appreciated Buck's interest in getting involved, they felt they couldn't overlook Costas's significant experience. Costas will replace current school board president Karl Cender, who did not seek reappointment. Council Member Evan Costas was not present for the interviews.