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More than 100 candidates running in California, Missouri and South Dakota school board elections

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April 1, 2014

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By Alex Schaffer

Missouri, California and South Dakota will hold a total of 21 school board elections on April 8, 2014. Nineteen of these elections will take place in Missouri, while one election each will take place in California and South Dakota. A total of 110 candidates are vying for 62 school board positions. The most competitive election in terms of its candidate count is taking place in the Fort Zumwalt R-II School District, where ten candidates are seeking only three at-large seats. Three incumbents in Blue Springs School District in Missouri will coast to re-election due to their lack of opponents, while Springfield Public Schools will see one new member elected alongside an incumbent. One incumbent, Douglas C. Morrison, in the Sioux Falls School District in South Dakota is opposed by challenger Roger Russell.

Missouri school board candidates are debating on a variety of issues facing their school districts. Two elementary schools in the North Kansas City School District are implementing a year-round schedule in order to improve student academic performance.[1] The Columbia Public School Board is in the process of replacing award-winning former Superintendent Chris Belcher, who announced his retirement in January 2014.[2] The Kansas City Public Schools election features nine candidates competing for five seats on the school board. The district has operated without state accreditation since January 2012 and closed 28 of 61 schools in order to eliminate a $50 million budget shortfall in 2010.[3][4]

California's sole school board election on April 8 will take place in the Long Beach Unified School District, where five candidates seek three seats. The District 1 election between Uduak-Joe Ntuk and Megan Kerr has become controversial because of accusations of dishonesty against each of the candidates.[5][6] Board President John McGinnis is campaigning for re-election in District 3 against challenger Juan Benitez, while incumbent Diana F. Craighead is running unopposed to keep her District 5 seat.

Spotlight: Ferguson-Florissant School District

The Ferguson-Florissant School District has received a significant amount of media attention in 2014. On November 6, 2013, the Ferguson-Florissant Board of Education voted 6-1 in favor of putting Superintendent Art McCoy on suspension with pay, citing "differences in focus and philosophy" as their reason. Board President and 2014 candidate Paul T. Morris stated the board's actions were not an indication of wrongdoing on McCoy's part.[7][8] The decision to suspend McCoy was met with resistance from the public, and several demonstrations were held in support of the suspended superintendent. On March 12, 2014, just an hour before his termination hearing was scheduled to begin, McCoy and the board released a statement announcing his resignation. The statement read, "It is mutually agreed and understood that full resolution of these matters is in the best interests of the Ferguson-Florissant School District. To those who have framed the issues as racially motivated, the parties are satisfied that each acted in good faith and with the best interests of the Ferguson-Florissant School District in mind."[9] The controversy centered around the fact that McCoy was a black superintendent serving in a district with a 78% black student body but no black school board members. McCoy spoke to supporters at a Get Out The Vote rally on March 29, 2014 and encouraged voters to hold the board members accountable.[10]

The district also captured national news headlines on March 20, 2014 when a parent was arrested for outstanding warrants after not properly following sign-in procedures, when she entered the school to see her son. Niakea Williams was called to the school by a teacher to console her son Michael, a student suffering from Asperger’s syndrome. Ms. Williams entered the school and was recognized by school officials who identified her as a local parent. When Williams went to talk with her son, she was notified by the school principal that she had not followed the proper sign-in protocol, the police had been called and the building had entered lockdown. Williams was then separated from her son and arrested on charges of disturbing a school, which is a city ordinance violation.[11] School officials and the Calverton Park Police Department later defended the decision to arrest Williams. Williams is scheduled to appear in court in late May 2014.[12]

Candidates

California

Long Beach Unified School District
District 1

UncheckedBox.jpg Uduak-Joe Ntuk
UncheckedBox.jpg Megan Kerr

District 3

UncheckedBox.jpg John McGinnis
UncheckedBox.jpg Juan Benitez

District 5

UncheckedBox.jpg Diana F. Craighead

Missouri

Blue Springs School District
At-large

UncheckedBox.jpg Kay Coen
UncheckedBox.jpg Dale Falck
UncheckedBox.jpg Dale Walkup

Columbia Public Schools
At-large

UncheckedBox.jpg Paul Cushing
UncheckedBox.jpg Jonathan Sessions
UncheckedBox.jpg Joseph A. Toepke
UncheckedBox.jpg Helen Wade

Ferguson-Florissant School District
At-large

UncheckedBox.jpg Kimberly Benz
UncheckedBox.jpg Robert Chabot
UncheckedBox.jpg F. Willis Johnson Jr.
UncheckedBox.jpg Paul T. Morris
UncheckedBox.jpg Donna Paulette-Thurman
UncheckedBox.jpg James Savala
UncheckedBox.jpg Larry Thomas
UncheckedBox.jpg LaWanda Wallace

Fox C-6 School District
At-large

UncheckedBox.jpg Chris Hastings
UncheckedBox.jpg Mark Jones
UncheckedBox.jpg John Laughlin
UncheckedBox.jpg Dawn Mullins
UncheckedBox.jpg Vernon Sullivan
UncheckedBox.jpg Robert Gruenewald

Fort Zumwalt R-II School District
At-large

UncheckedBox.jpg John Callahan
UncheckedBox.jpg Caleb Hunter
UncheckedBox.jpg Christopher Hunter
UncheckedBox.jpg Daniel Ipson
UncheckedBox.jpg Emily Malabey
UncheckedBox.jpg Brent Meyers
UncheckedBox.jpg Craig Moore
UncheckedBox.jpg Jim Pepper
UncheckedBox.jpg Robert Polkinghorne
UncheckedBox.jpg Renee Porter


Francis Howell School District
At-large

UncheckedBox.jpg Rene Cope
UncheckedBox.jpg Kimberlyann Granger
UncheckedBox.jpg Mike Hoehn
UncheckedBox.jpg Mark C. Lafata
UncheckedBox.jpg Chad Lange
UncheckedBox.jpg Ralph Moore
UncheckedBox.jpg Cory Simek
UncheckedBox.jpg Gary Stevenson
UncheckedBox.jpg Mike Sommer

Hazelwood School District
At-large

UncheckedBox.jpg Ann Gibbons
UncheckedBox.jpg Donna Harrell-Saddler
UncheckedBox.jpg David J. Pilla
UncheckedBox.jpg Charles Woods
UncheckedBox.jpg Brenda C. Youngblood

Independence School District
At-large

UncheckedBox.jpg Denise Frears
UncheckedBox.jpg Blake Roberson
UncheckedBox.jpg Ron Thornbury
UncheckedBox.jpg Dennis Tharp

Kansas City Public Schools
At-large

UncheckedBox.jpg Janelle N. Bailey
UncheckedBox.jpg Amy H. Hartsfield
UncheckedBox.jpg Patricia Mansur
UncheckedBox.jpg Catina K. Taylor

Sub-district 2

UncheckedBox.jpg Gunnar Hand

Sub-district 4

UncheckedBox.jpg Joseph C. Jackson
UncheckedBox.jpg Melissa J. Robinson

Sub-district 6

UncheckedBox.jpg Carl Evans
UncheckedBox.jpg Pamela L. Pearson

Lee's Summit R-7 Schools
At-large

UncheckedBox.jpg Bill Baird
UncheckedBox.jpg Terri Harmon
UncheckedBox.jpg Mark Ousnamer
UncheckedBox.jpg Chris Storms

Liberty Public Schools
At-large

UncheckedBox.jpg Bruce Cantwell
UncheckedBox.jpg Don Hubbs
UncheckedBox.jpg Kim-Marie Graham
UncheckedBox.jpg Jesse Leimkuehler
UncheckedBox.jpg Angela Reed
UncheckedBox.jpg Lori Tritz


Mehlville School District
At-large

UncheckedBox.jpg Rich Franz
UncheckedBox.jpg Randy Howard
UncheckedBox.jpg Venki Palamand
UncheckedBox.jpg Jean Pretto
UncheckedBox.jpg Samantha Stormer

North Kansas City Schools
At-large

UncheckedBox.jpg Joe Jacobs
UncheckedBox.jpg Dixie Youngers
UncheckedBox.jpg Brian Mercer

Park Hill School District
At-large

UncheckedBox.jpg David Blackburn
UncheckedBox.jpg Janice Bolin
UncheckedBox.jpg Bart J. Klein
UncheckedBox.jpg Boon Lee
UncheckedBox.jpg Lathem Scott

Parkway Schools
At-large

UncheckedBox.jpg Deborah Hopper
UncheckedBox.jpg Chris Jacob
UncheckedBox.jpg Dee Mogerman
UncheckedBox.jpg Tim Sauer
UncheckedBox.jpg Wade R. Wieser

Rockwood School District
At-large

UncheckedBox.jpg Darby Jo Arakelian
UncheckedBox.jpg Matt Doell
UncheckedBox.jpg Keith Kinder
UncheckedBox.jpg Dominque Paul
UncheckedBox.jpg Eileen Tyrrell

Springfield Public Schools
At-large

UncheckedBox.jpg Denise Frederick
UncheckedBox.jpg Tim Rosenbury

St. Joseph School District
At-large

UncheckedBox.jpg Jeff Bird
UncheckedBox.jpg Kappy Hodges
UncheckedBox.jpg Lori Prussman

Wentzville R-IV School District
At-large

UncheckedBox.jpg Marcos Chu
UncheckedBox.jpg Barbara Fine
UncheckedBox.jpg Rick Glidewell
UncheckedBox.jpg Ron Lares
UncheckedBox.jpg Kenneth Mayer
UncheckedBox.jpg Heather Reiter
UncheckedBox.jpg Courtney Tieman
UncheckedBox.jpg Angie Ward

South Dakota

Sioux Falls School District
At-large

UncheckedBox.jpg Douglas C. Morrison
UncheckedBox.jpg Roger Russell

See also

References