Seven candidates to vie for three school board seats

Tuesday, January 22, 2008 | 8:22 p.m. CST; updated 12:51 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

COLUMBIA — Hours before the district’s deadline, three new school board candidates filed for consideration Tuesday.

Kevin Horner, Gale Hairston and Ines Segert all filed for candidacy. They join four others, including incumbents Tom Rose and Vice President Darin Preis, whose terms expire in April.

Board member David Ballenger’s term will also end, but he is not running for re-election. This leaves three seats open.

Horner, systems architect at Missouri Farmers Association Incorporated, said he is running because he disagrees with the 54-cent property tax levy increase the board proposed to cover the district’s $10.3 million deficit. He had not considered running until the board’s action.

“It’s merely a Band-Aid to previous decisions,” he said. “This is just going to enable the district to continue to make these types of decisions.”

Hairston, who was out of town Tuesday when he filed, currently serves as director of Educator Preparation Programs at Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. He is also a former principal at Rockbridge Elementary.

Segert, an instruction assistant professor of psychology at MU, has two sons who attend Columbia schools. This is her second try for a board seat. Segert applied for the open board position in May 2007, which was filled by Rose.

In a news release announcing her candidacy, Segert said her primary goals would include reducing "unnecessary budget growth," evaluating the effects of curricula on students, and ensuring students are being tested in a manner based on scientifically-proven methods.

Rose said he was surprised by the last-minute filings.

“It’ll be a more interesting race; it gives people a choice,” he said.

Preis echoed this sentiment.

“I think I have an advantage, but it’s important for the community to have choices,” he said. “I’m not taking anything for granted.”

Candidates Rosie Tippin and Arch Brooks filed earlier. Tippin was a principal at West Boulevard Elementary until 2004, when she resigned due to health problems. Brooks has run for school board seats before. Neither was available for comment.

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