John Flanagan, who stood in a Hardin County Board of Education meeting in 2016 to protest a property tax increase, has filed to serve on that five-member panel.

Flanagan said a concern about responsible spending is a prime motivation behind his decision to file for the Division 1 school board seat on the November ballot.

“Fiscal responsibility has always been my concern,” he said. “I want to make sure we’re getting our money’s worth.”

The primary emphasis of the school board always should be on student educational success, Flanagan said. He believes “some people are focused on other goals,” citing an apparent emphasis on new construction.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Flanagan said he received a good education attending classes in a 50-year-old structure.

“I don’t think a building is what it’s all about,” he said.

He cited the Cecilia Valley situation, in which the district found its newest elementary was underutilized just a year after its completion, as a reason to question the district’s efficiency and priorities.

But Flanagan said he does not enter the race with preconceptions. He has been asking local teachers for insight about the effectiveness of board policies and other ideas to enhance instruction.

Flanagan is the first person to file for the Division 1 seat, which serves northern Hardin County. The position currently is held by John Emary, who was appointed in August to complete the unexpired term of Andrea Palmer, who moved out of the area. Emary previously served on the HCS board from January 2009 until December 2016.

Flanagan, 72, has been a Radcliff resident for half his life. He’s served on the Radcliff Planning Commission and run unsuccessfully for Radcliff City Council. He’s active in the Radcliff Small Business Alliance and other community volunteer roles. Flanagan, who entered the U.S. Army as an enlisted man through the draft, retired in 1986 as a major.

He said he filed early for the office to make his interest and intentions clear and because of confusion within the state Board of Election when he reached out about filing paperwork. Flanagan said the race initially was not on the state list and confusion about the filing deadline, convinced him to get the documents ready.

No primary is required in school board races so the candidacy deadline is 4 p.m. June 2. Hardin County has three seats up in the November election and school board seats in the Elizabethtown and West Point also are open. Elizabethtown City Council and commissions in Sonora, Upton and West Point also face the June deadline for their non-partisan seats.

Ben Sheroan can be reached at 270-505-1764 or

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