LIMA — Dewayne Streater has never wanted to leave Lima. He's a self-employed construction worker and longtime school board president who says there's value in living in a small community, knowing your neighbors and watching them grow up.
Streater just finished his 13th term as the New Lima school board president and said it's time for someone else to take charge, especially since his children are in high school and college.
“When your grandfather, your father, you, and your kids go to the same school, you take it personal,” he said. “You want to see your kids do well. You want to see your school do well.”
Streater, 44, said the high school normally graduates about 20 or 30 students each year. The ceremonies are small, “not a lot of hollering or blowing whistles,” he said.
“You see a few tears and you see a little laughter.”
About 75 percent of graduates go on to college or vocational training, he said. Some will stay home to manage the family farm, just like their parents and grandparents.
Even though Seminole County has 10 districts — among the highest per capita in the state — Streater said he wants to avoid further consolidation.
“In smaller schools, your kids get a great education — as far as books, how to act, how to live,” he said. “I'm not for consolidation.”
He's worried that redistricting could affect local taxpayers as far as building new facilities, and he doesn't want to see class sizes get larger.
“Kids are our future. They're going to run our country when we're all dead and gone. Without a proper education, they don't have a chance.”