COLUMBIA — Nathan Garten wants to ensure a more responsible spending budget for the school board, but that doesn’t mean cutting out small perks for teachers.
Garten, a 27-year-old senior credit manager at Wells Fargo, filed Friday morning as a candidate for one of the two open positions on the school board on the April ballot. He is the third candidate to enter the race.
Garten said his main motivation for filing is to help the district better manage its finances.
“With the fact of the bond issue failing last year, I thought now is the time to step up and bring some fiscal responsibility to the school board,” he said.
But, Garten does not think it is necessary to weed out small expenses such as microwaves and coffee pots in teacher lounges. He said he wants to make sure the school board is operating within its means.
“The resources are within the school budget to give the children the education they need and deserve without expecting more out of the taxpayer,” he said.
As a licensed health agent, Garten said, he has the experience needed to make sure teachers are getting the health care benefits they deserve.
Another concern of Garten’s is the district's declining graduation rate.
“The graduation ratio needs to go back to the way it was. It has steadily dropped,” Garten said.
Garten also thinks his experience in politics would benefit the school board. “I have worked in politics and know many elected officials in Jeff City, and I think I could be a good voice for those officials. I work with finance every day and sound financial practices is what it is going to take,” he said.
Michelle Pruitt and Jeannine Craig have also filed for the two open board positions.
Applicants have until 5 p.m. on Jan. 20 to file in person at 1818 W. Worley St. Candidates must pay taxes in Columbia, be 24 years old and a U.S. citizen.