Hazelwood School District (HSD) parents interested in getting to know the candidates running for the open seats on the HSD Board of Education got that opportunity Thursday night during a question/answer format.
“We wanted the public to find out more about each school board candidate’s views on public education and to also have the opportunity to see another side of the candidates,” said PTA member Chip Wilson. “The election isn’t too far away and I was very impressed with the questions asked of the candidates.”
There are three open seats on the board of education and four individuals vying for a seat: current members Charles “Chuck” Woods, a retired educator and principal and 30-year member Ann Gibbons, along with Brenda Youngblood and Nita Curry. Current board member and secretary Diane Dowdy had also filed to run for re-election, but later dropped out of the race.
Tracy Prasad, a mother to two daughters on the Hazelwood West side of the district said it’s important to know exactly for whom you vote.
“I came so I could see who the candidates really are and get a better glimpse of their positions on various subjects,” she said. “I’m looking for board members with new ideas that can bring some freshness to the board.”
The Hazelwood PTA Council, along with the League of Women Voters, hosted the annual “Meet the Candidates Night.” It was held at the HSD Administration Building in the room where the HSD Board of Education normally meets, and had only a few vacant seats.
“We had a full house and for a Thursday night that’s good,” said Wilson, who was also pleased with the crowd mixture. “There’s a good demographic including men, women, all races and residents of all the parts of the school district so I think all of the school district parents were represented.”
The board candidates answered questions and discussed their opinions on various subjects including:
- Out-of-the-box thinking as it pertains to HSD operations
- Educational experience as it pertains to engaging minority populations
- Merit pay for teachers
- Handling unruly students
- Open enrollment
- School funding and budget cuts
- Alternative Schools for students requiring special attention
- Better preparing students for college
“I need someone with a vested interest in this community and our children,” she said. “All the candidates had good answers and I especially liked the innovative thoughts and fresh perspective from the two new people.
All in all, parents seemed pleased after the one-hour session ended and stayed after to speak with the candidates and current board members in attendance including board president Desiree Whitlock, Karlton Thornton and Cheryl Latham.
The last day to register to vote in the April election is March 9. Be sure to check back on Patch as we bring you profiles of each candidate in the upcoming weeks before the election.