Three of the four Ferguson-Florissant candidates for the board of education stated their cases to an intimate audience at McCluer High School Thursday night.
Incumbents Charles “Chuck” Henson and Leslie Hogshead as well as Ferguson resident Keith Brown answered questions regarding student achievement, security and handling the district’s financial picture. Ferguson resident and candidate Larry Thomas did not attend.
The forum, hosted by the McCluer Parent/Teacher/Student organization (PTSO), allowed voters an opportunity to interact with the candidates.
While incumbents Henson and Hogshead had board experience to draw upon regarding qualifications and motivation, Brown told the story that he had substituted at McCluer for a few years and wanted to make an impact on classrooms.
“I believe classes should be a teachable environment,” he said. He also said that he believes that students should understand consequences and believes they should be firmer.
Henson discussed the transformation of the district since he attended the school district in the 1970s to present day, and he said that he wants to be a part of the future of this district.
“We have an opportunity to change the world,” he said. “I hold that responsibility close in my life.”
Hogshead said that she works as a healthcare administrator, which is a quality that could benefit the board through human resources and finance experience, but she also talked about her passion for the district and how much she wants students to get the best education they can from the district.
One item that all three candidates agreed upon is that the district’s financial situation. Ferguson-Florissant faces making a number of cuts to the 2013-2014 budget due to revenue shortfalls that could result in cuts totaling up to close to $10 million.
Henson said that every district faces the problem of providing quality education with limited financial capabilities, but he believes that it can be done. Brown said that while the budget is of great concern, there’s a great deal of emphasis placed on money, which might not be the problem. He said that maintaining the classroom environment is a key issue.
For Hogshead, she said that part of problem is legislators mandating how districts conduct things, but that the district must be fiscally responsible and provide quality education.
In the end, each made a case for being on the Ferguson-Florissant Board of Education.
Hogshead said she has a passion for North County, Ferguson-Florissant and its children and will continue to be an advocate for the district.
Brown said he’s excited to serve the district.
“I owe this community something,” he said. “I can’t repay what it has done for my daughter.” His daughter grew up in the Ferguson-Florissant School District.
For Henson, he said that he wants to continue to build and strengthen the community, which includes bringing the district to distinction.
Two seats are up for election. The election is set for April 2.