By Okon Ekpenyong
Born and raised in western Franklin County, and a product of central Ohio public schools, David Donofrio was elected to the South-Western City Schools’ Board of Education in November 2017. Seeking reelection, David has a background of service that spans years of experience in the public and private sectors, particularly in the area of job creation. In his spare time, David is a singer/songwriter, avid Buckeye’s fan, and is involved with a host of nonprofit organizations throughout the school district area, including founding the Prairie Harvest Festival, Vice President of Friends of Southwest Public Libraries, and Secretary-Treasurer for the Prairie Township Firefighters Association. David seeks opportunities for public-private partnerships to benefit students and is proud of building the district’s connections with the Mid-Ohio Foodbank and Harper’s Corner.
I know that certain jobs, companies, or entire industries are closed from people’s reach based on their level of educational attainment, or where they graduated. Career and real-world skill development are some of my key priorities for the district. I was born and raised in western Franklin County and I am a proud product of central Ohio public schools. I am a resident of Grove City with Ryan Ladina, our cat Ohio, and dog Bella.
Serving in this capacity over the past four years has been the privilege of my life. As PTA members and parents, we all know, there is no more important role for us than to support our children, who are our future. I am a proud product of central Ohio public schools. The teachers I had, many of whom I remain in touch with, were the motivators in my life that turned me toward a path of public service. Professionally, I bring a blend of public and private sector experience that can be helpful in our career development programs, policymaking, and a host of other areas across the district. It is my hope that through my continued service as part of this team of five that I can help provide every child, regardless of their ZIP code or personal circumstances, with the same toolbox with which to build their dreams.
I’ve been involved in assisting our District and its children for years prior to my Board service. It’s very important that we look to candidates’ records, and the district’s, in evaluating this election.
Our state report cards have shown significant improvement in terms of student achievement and prepared for success measures in our district since I began my service. I do believe based on the interactions I have had with teachers and parents that we are providing a high-quality education for a great value among our central Ohio peer districts. Secondly, the passage of Issue 7 in 2018 was a critical next step in our Ohio Facilities Construction Commission projects. When the new middle schools are completed a year from now, every classroom in the district will not just have air conditioning, but state of the art materials and technology. That’s something of which we can all be proud. And from a practical standpoint, I am particularly proud of the expansion of our Career Academy offerings, and the strong ratings our district has received in financial literacy. When we say “Education for the Real World is our Business,” this is not just a bumper sticker, but a strategic plan that our leaders work to implement every day. We can be proud that our students are graduating with a plan for their future, and the tools they need to achieve it.
The campaign is going well, but we need your help and support to bring it home. Please visit www.daviddonofrio.com  to learn more about me, my background, and priorities. You can also contact me there to get involved as a volunteer, or to contribute. Every bit counts!
Our Board has committed additional resources, annually, to programs such as Communities in Schools, I know I Can, school counselors and more, all of which identify concerns outside the classroom which may affect students within it. I commit to working with our Board to continue ramping up these investments until every student in every classroom has equal access to them. I also have been committed to eliminating pay to participate fees. Although 15 years ago these were created as a compromise to the community to pass our operating levy, we have an entirely different population now, and we need to move on from this relic of a time of economic distress. The past two years we have cut these fees in half, which is a great step, but I commit to working until we have eliminated this unnecessary barrier for all our students. Third, we must continue working to support our team. We have over two thousand teachers, bus drivers, custodians, secretaries, and a variety of other staff. Our Board and administration’s job is to ensure they have the tools to make our students successful. At the end of the day, our job is about putting students first.