Voters share: How they made their decisions

Tuesday, April 8, 2008 | 8:09 p.m. CDT; updated 1:30 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

“I voted for Ines Segert because she showed a position on (the tax levy), and I was against that.”

— Bryan Higgins, 31, researcher

“I voted for Tippin. She’s been in education a long time.”

— Brenda Senseman, 45, teacher

“I feel it’s very important for Columbia to continue to support the school system by passing the tax levy. Other schools that we’ve been compared to have passed it in recent years, and it seems to be the only way to keep up with the increasing cost of gas and staffing, increased number of students, and many increases in costs.”

­— Susan Robinson, 54, coordinator of health services for Columbia Public Schools

The school tax levy is “necessary ... my wife is a teacher, and I’ve got two daughters in school. I know what resources the teachers have and what is necessary to maintain the very good education system.”

— Dan Holt, 50, consultant for higher education finance

“I think (Laura Nauser) is doing a fine job. I prefer to have a choice on elections, but sometimes the incumbent’s doing a great job and no one feels that they can do better.”

— David Johnston, 49, attorney

“It (the sewer upgrade) needs to be done. If we don’t keep up with our infrastructure, we’ll pay for it down the road — pay now or pay later.”

— John LaRocca, 52, manager of the University Club

“I’m the co-chair of the city sewer bond committee. And in terms of our environment, quality of life and financing the necessary improvements with the most fiscally responsible option, yes was the way to vote. We obviously were encouraging people to vote yes.”

— Mary Anne McCollum, 58, MU University Affairs

“I voted yes for the tax levy. I just think there’s work that needs to be done in Columbia.”

— Evan Smith, 56, educator

“I voted yes for the tax levy. I have a daughter that’s going to be entering the school district soon, and I think it’s important to not lose sight of the bigger picture. I can’t vote in good conscience against the school levy because of my daughter, but the high school and budget issues have not been handled well.”

— Jason Ramsey, 34, state government administrator

“I think that anytime you can improve education, you should. When I’m older, these kids will be taking care of me.”

— Joe Toepke, 37, National Guardsman

“I’m tired of paying all these high taxes. I already pay enough of them. We in construction … there ain’t no construction going on now. We don’t need them to raise our taxes.”

— Bill Howard, 53, electrician

“I’m going to vote yes for the tax levy because we need to keep the schools intact and invest in our children’s future. Without good schools, (children) can’t get the education they deserve, and that limits their opportunities in the future.”

— Gary Lembke, 37, social worker

“I think the (school) district is squandering money. The administration is top heavy, and I’m still pissed about the lawsuit. I think they have wasted a lot of money in frivolous lawsuits.” ­

— Bob Smith, 69, information technologist

The school levy increase “would raise my taxes by $750. I don’t appreciate that.”

— Linda Karl, 46, manager at Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance

“I think the school district is being irresponsible. If it was a business, they would be laying people off. They just aren’t running efficiently.”

— Matt Arnold, 33

“Education is so important. We’ll have to pay it later, so we might as well pay it now.”

— Gladys Summers, 84

“I voted for the tax levy. ... Kids are our future, and we have to support our schools and teachers. It is very important financially because teachers give 150 percent and are not adequately paid.”

— Dorian Pickering, 57, retired teacher

“I voted for (Ines) Segert because I’ve met her already and was very impressed by her. For the other two (Rosie Tippin and Darin Preis), I’ve heard good things about them.”

— Evan Smith, 56, educator

“(Rose Tippin, Tom Rose and Ines Segert) are the three who have questioned the status quo the most, which is a big deal for me. … They seem to want to look into running the school district as efficiently as possible without hurting the students at the same time.”

— Bill Cantin, 34, neighborhood specialist for the city of Columbia

“There are a lot of problems with the way the board is presenting itself to the public with secrecy. I don’t think there is a prayer this is going to pass.”

— Brett Prentiss, Stephens College professor

“This is the first time ever in my life I’ve voted against a school bond or levy. … The culture of the administration of the district needs to change. They’ve had a strong message from the public for months. … The sky won’t fall — they can put a levy out next year and if the district is on its historic footing I am sure it will pass.”

— Tracy Greever-Rice, 44, MU researcher

“Columbia needs to understand that our taxes are very low. If you look at other university towns we are low. … Money doesn’t buy everything, but you get what you pay for with the schools.”

— Esther Stroh, 48, biologist

“It (the sewer upgrade) is something that needs to be done because if we don’t do it, the Feds will make us do it. And the price we’ll pay with the Feds is going to be a lot more than doing it this way.”

— John Kadlec, 50, business owner

“There wasn’t any choice (on the sewer bond). I mean, we’re gonna get hit one way or the other, so whether we voted for it or against it, it was a technical issue.”

— Gary Moegling, 63, retired

The school tax levy question “has been a tough decision because you want to support the schools. I think they do handle money pretty well ... they kind of jump around a little bit. There doesn’t seem to be much planning.”

— Dave Hoffmaster, 58, media specialist for Boone Hospital Center

“I think (Rose Tippin, Darin Pries and Tom Rose) reflect a good balance of views among the candidates. I really like Darin Pries. I think he’s done a fair job on the board … Tom Rose is a very reasonable man … and I just like Rosie.”

— Dan Ware, 30, teacher

“Yeah, there’s a lot of things I’d like to tell the school board. I’ve had five kids go through the schools. As taxpayers, we’re paying for a lot of extra courses that are not part of the basics that I think taxes should support. I don’t think … we ought to be supporting those extra courses with our tax money. I think our teachers all deserve major raises and increases, and they ought to get rid of a lot of administration cost and apply it to teaching and get back to teaching basics instead of all the junk they teach.”

— Gary Moegling, 63, retired

“I don’t support the tax levy. I question (the school board’s) spending.”

— Russ Devenney, 59, office manager

“I’m all for the teachers but not the (school district) administration. I’m afraid teachers might get cut now, but we need to send a message.”

— Sally Thornton, 69, retired cashier from West Junior High

“Well, it’s kind of a mixed situation. I think (the school district) didn’t spend money wisely last year, which kinda put us over a barrel this year, and so that’s about all I wanna say about it.”

— Nelson Trickey, 83, retired

“I voted no (on the school levy). I think they need to change the way they spend money, and while I realize that, I think teachers and staff always need to be paid more. I think that this was my only effective method of sending a message that they need to change the way they spend money.”

— Steve Fox, 48, computer systems manager

“What was my thoughts about the tax levy for the schools? I thought it was very poorly scheduled and not very well explained.”

— Gary Moegling, 63, retired

“I voted no on the school levy. There is a point where the school board needs to be more frugal with their money, and voting ‘no’ is a good way to send a message.”

— Edward Ricciotti, 42, social worker

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