Make Your Vote An Informed One

We had a lively forum with all five candidates for school board  attending on March 15 at United Community Builders.  You can watch videos of all 5 candidates on the Columbia Tribune’s website. Shelli Adams, CPS Director of School Improvement and a member of the Superintendent’s leadership team also provided an overview of the bond issue and tax levy that will also be on the ballot.  For further information on the tax levy you can also read through the on-line dialogue between representatives of the Tribune and CPS.

Our parents had a wide range of questions to ask the candidates. We promised to post all of the questions submitted here and invite further responses.  We will post the responses received, so continue to check back!  And vote on April 5!

  • Should supporting preschool education be a priority for CPS?  Why or why not?
  • What would you do to boost teacher pay?
  • With the ever expanding population of Columbia how would you have community members invest (time or money) in the school district?
  • Parents are concerned about the length of the lunch period.  Children are not able to get thru the line & eat the lunches in such short amounts of time.  What can the district do about this problem?
  • How can bullying be addressed at schools?
  • What about safety concerns @ school crossing areas where CPD states it is not responsible for traffic?
  • How important do you feel it is to work together with board members? and give an example of a successful collaboration you’ve been a part of.
  • I recently saw a poll where Columbia has one of the best school districts in Missouri – #12. CPS received an A+ in the area of student culture and diversity.  What do you see as contributors to such a stellar grade?
  • Increasing parent involvement – removing barriers/restorative justice program – what about parents with a record?
  • How would you address the achievement gap in CPS?
  • How do you propose closing the achievement gap during the middle years?
  • Columbia is segregated by neighborhoods and as a result, schools tend to look like those neighborhoods, ie often NOT very diverse.  How should the district address this, if at all?
  • Does diversity matter?!
  • Black students in CPS are 5.1 times more likely to be suspended as compared to all other groups.  How would you use your seat to address this issue?
  • How would you promote women and minorities in leadership positions in the Administration and schools throughout the district?
  • What are we doing to bring more teachers in for all the current schools and new schools?
  • How many students are currently enrolled in CPS? (18,015)
  • How do you plan to improve parental engagement in the education process?
  • What is your #1 priority as a potential board member?
  • If you could change one thing about our schools, what would it be?
  • What is an issue you know of or have heard of that you would say is NOT a top priority for CPS? and why?
  • What is the most important issue facing the Columbia Public Schools?

Thanks to all who participated and to the CCPTA and the MSTA who co-sponsored the forum!




2015 Candidate Forum – Questions from The Audience

Once again we had an engaged group of citizens at our forum earlier today. At our forum, parents and other community members submit questions that the candidates draw from a grab bag and answer. We thank both Christine King and Darin Pries for attending and for their thoughtful and candid responses. We also appreciated that they stayed past the forum time to talk further with those present.  Listed below are the questions the audience submitted arranged by category. A third candidate, Derek Wade, was out of town and did not attend. All of the candidates have been invited to send additional remarks.  And readers are also invited to comment below.

Here are the questions:

Supporting Our Teachers

  •  The most important “product” of CPS is the student.  The most vital “tool” in the system is the teacher.  Please comment on your view about +negotiating with teachers and that effect on morale, +the reality that a teacher new to the system, yet with experience may be paid more than a teacher with the same experience, but who has given the same number of years to CPS, +the board’s role in leading the community to properly and adequately fund public education.
  • How can you support our teachers even if there are not enough $$?  Why not protect planning time?
  • If the public asked for a dedicated tax increase to compensate our teachers would you support it?  Is that possible?

Common Core

  • “Common Core” has at least 3 components: (i) standards; (ii) testing/assessment, and (iii) application.  Issues with assessment and application are being confused with the standards and are undermining them.  What can you do to support the standards and still address the issues?
  • What is your opinion on Common Core for CPS?


  • Bright Futures is great and so are mentoring programs like those at Douglass in helping match kids to resources.  What recommendations do you have for community to work with schools to close the equity gaps?
  • What strategy is in place to recruit a more diverse pool of teachers?
  • Redistricting:  How can we make the percentage of subgroups more similar between schools?
  • Some of the overcrowding issues being experienced by schools are due to public perception of certain schools being “better” than others based on their physical location.  How can the board assist in educating the public about the quality education to all of our students?
  • Describe what EQUITY means to you and how BOARD policy impacts equity for students in CPS.


  • What are your plans to alleviate overcrowding in the classroom?
  • Do you believe that intelligent design should be taught alongside evolution in public schools?  Why or why not?
  • PARENTS and PARENT ENGAGEMENT have traditionally gotten lip service from CPS administration.  What does REAL, meaningful parent engagement look like to you and how does the board drive it?
  • What is CPS doing to support its local control in Jeff City?
  • What is CPS doing to implement the nutrition standards?  Are there any changes coming?

Although our forum wasn’t taped (you had to be there!) you can read more about the candidates in the Columbia Tribune.  You can also watch this tape on the CMNEA forum.