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Small pool of candidates file for SJSD Board of Education election

The ballot for the St. Joseph School District Board of Education election in April won't have many new names. Four people have filed for candidacy and two of them are running for re-election.

Posted: Jan. 15, 2019 8:44 PM
Updated: Jan. 16, 2019 10:02 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) There will be four names on the April ballot for two open seats on the St. Joseph School District Board of Education.

They include current board members Tami Pasley and Dr. Bryan Green along with Kenneth Reeder and David Mason, Jr.

Pasley and Green had already announced their intentions to run for another three-year term in previous weeks. Reed and Mason filed for candidacy Tuesday afternoon, just ahead of the 5 p.m. deadline.

Having four candidates running for the school board this election is in sharp contrast to two years ago, when Pasley and Green were selected from a slate of 10 candidates.

Former Central High School teacher David Jordan was among those who ran in 2016 and declined entering this year's campaign. He says he's not surprised by less interest this time around.

"Until April we won't have reached the one year point with this completely new board and it'll be summer when we have reached the year mark with our new superintendent," Jordan said, referring to Doug Van Zyl, who began as SJSD superintendent last July. "We are still only months down the road so I think much of the community is still watching and waiting to see what's going to happen and what this group can do."

Jordan added that the noew board could also face the grim task of more budget cutting should another effort to ask the public for a levy tax increase fail, discouraging would-be candidates from running.

"If we don't have a new levy, my understanding is that there may be an additional two to three million dollars that need to be cut, those would be some hard decisions," said Jordan. 

Another 2016 candidate who has decided not to run again in 2018, Teresa Simmons, agrees.

"The current board has already trimmed the budget as thin as it would be able to get, and it was hard for them to make some of those decisions before,"  she said.

Jordan and Simmons agreed that the time necessary needed to commit to being a school board member, an unpaid position, can be discouraging to a number of potential candidates.

 "The job is hard, its time consuming,  and there is no reward, Simmons said. "They do so many extra hours and they attend all these classes. You have to have a really serious dedication to the district to be on a board like this."

St. Joseph voters will go to the polls April 2 to elect two people to the St. Joseph School District Board of Education.

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