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Polly Taylor-Gerken

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Polly Taylor-Gerken
Polly Taylor-Gerken.jpg
Board Member, Toledo Public Schools, At-large
Term ends
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
First electedNovember 5, 2013
Term limitsN/A
Master'sUniversity of Toledo
Place of birthToledo, Ohio
ProfessionPsychologist, psychoeducational consultant
Polly Taylor-Gerken campaign logo
Polly Taylor-Gerken is an at-large member on the Toledo School Board. She first won election to the board on November 5, 2013 against six fellow challengers and one incumbent.


Taylor-Gerken is a native of East Toledo, graduating from TPS. Her daughter also graduated from the district where she has a daughter currently enrolled. Additionally, Taylor-Gerken worked for 20 years for the district as a secretary. She has her Master's degree in counselor education from the University of Toledo and spent ten years as a school psychologist. Presently, she is a self-employed licensed school psychologist and psychoeducational consultant.[1]



See also: Toledo Public Schools elections (2013)


Toledo Public Schools, At-large General Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngBob Vasquez Incumbent 19.3% 16,715
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngPolly Taylor-Gerken 18.5% 15,947
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngChris Varwig 15.6% 13,505
     Nonpartisan Perry Lefevre 13.4% 11,589
     Nonpartisan Randall Parker III 10.8% 9,333
     Nonpartisan Aji Green 9.8% 8,423
     Nonpartisan Tina Henold 9.3% 8,023
     Nonpartisan Darryl Fingers 3.3% 2,852
Total Votes 86,387
Source: Lucas County of Ohio, "Election Summary Report for General Election in Lucas County, Ohio," accessed December 13, 2013


Taylor-Gerken was endorsed by the Lucas County Democratic Party, UAW, TAAP/UAW Local 5242, AFSCME Council 8, Teamsters Local 20, AFL-CIO, Carpenters Local 351, Ironworkers Local 55, UFCW, Laborers Local 500, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 50, Cement Masons Local 886, IBEW Local 8, Toledo Port Council and Sheet Metal Workers Local 33.[1]


Taylor-Gerken reported $9,997.30 in contributions but no expenditures to the Ohio Secretary of State, which left her campaign with $9,997.30 on hand.[2]

Campaign themes

In an October 2013 interview with the Toledo Free Press, Taylor-Gerken stated the following when asked about her campaign priorities:[1]

What are the three most crucial issues — in order of importance — facing TPS? What would you do as a board member to address the issues you identify?
First, improving the academic performance of TPS students is the most important challenge facing the district. Second, closing the achievement gap, which is key to the first priority. Finally, supporting excellent classroom teachers and principals – and holding them accountable – will help TPS become a school system of choice in our community. As a Board member, I would make every decision – from funding to curriculum adoption – based upon how the decision advanced these core academic concerns.

TPS currently has a renewal levy on the ballot that will raise approximately $16 million annually for five years or about the annual savings that can be obtained by implementing the performance audit recommendations. Why should the TPS renewal levy be approved by voters?
Implementing performance audit recommendations will require negotiation with employee unions, and that takes time. The renewal levy provides vital resources needed today to continue to support current academic programs. It is not realistic to think that TPS could give up the money from the renewal levy without doing serious and immediate damage to the district’s ability to serve students.

Ohio statutes require that TPS teachers and principals have regular performance evaluations with student performance on standardized tests a component of the evaluation. Should teachers and principals be held directly accountable for student performance in their individual performance evaluations? Why or why not?
Yes, teachers and principals should be accountable for student performance. I am encouraged to know that TPS and TFT have worked together to develop the framework for implementing the new Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES). And, expect the same collaboration with the administrators’ union to implement the Ohio Principal Evaluation System (OPES). The OTES and OPES programs must fairly balance many factors that assess an educator’s performance and care in establishing valid instruments is essential to this process.

Ohio is currently implementing national standards regarding the skills and knowledge all students need for success, referred to as the “Common Core.” Why do you support or oppose the adoption of these standards?
I support a “common core” of high academic standards that educational professionals throughout the nation recognize as essential knowledge all students should possess. Accurately assessing whether a student possesses math, science, and reading skills should not vary from state to state. A “common core” of academic performance standards assures that those standards set a high bar, that curriculum, assessments are tied to those standards, and that teachers, and schools are provided with the resources they need.

What's at stake?

Three at-large seats were up for election on November 5, 2013. Only one of the three incumbents filed for re-election. Voters also decided in favor of a $6.5 million levy for the district.

About the district

See also: Toledo Public Schools, Ohio
Toledo Public Schools is located in Lucas County, Ohio
Toledo Public Schools is located in Lucas County, which is situated in northern Ohio. The county's population was 441,815 according to the 2010 U.S. Census.[3]


In terms of graduation rate, average household income and poverty rate, Lucas County underperformed in these areas. The graduation rate was 87.3% compared to 87.8% statewide. The average household income was $41,949 compared to $48,071 in the entire state. The poverty rate was 19.5%, while the poverty rate for Ohio was 14.8%.[4]

Racial Demographics, 2010[4]
Race Lucas County (%) Ohio (%)
White 75.7 83.4
Black 19.5 12.5
Hispanic or Latino 6.4 3.3
Asian 1.6 1.8
American Indian 0.4 0.3
Two or More Races 2.7 2.0

Presidential Voting Pattern[5]
Year Democratic Vote (%) Republican Vote (%)
2012 64.9 33.2
2008 64.8 33.4
2004 63.6 35.9
2000 62.8 33.1

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100.0%. Each column will add up to 100.0% after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages.[6]

Recent news

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See also

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