Additional school board candidate brings count to seven

Thursday, January 15, 2009 | 5:17 p.m. CST; updated 7:47 p.m. CST, Thursday, January 15, 2009

COLUMBIA — The newest addition to the race for the Columbia School Board, Marc Bledsoe, said it is time to look at the facts and do what is best for the district and its students.

“It is not about how you feel. It’s about the facts,” said Bledsoe, an operations coordinator for Carfax Inc. in Columbia. “The school system should be for everyone, that is what it is designed for.”

Bledsoe filed on Wednesday and is the seventh candidate to file for the two open positions on the board. There are five days remaining to submit applications for the April 7 election.

Bledsoe graduated from Southwest Missouri University, now Missouri State, in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He then moved to Columbia and received his master’s of arts from MU in 1995.  

He met his wife while attending MU. Ann Bledsoe has a doctorate in mathematics education and has been a professor at Columbia College for the past seven years.

The couple have two children, Cayley, 10, and Isaac, 7, who both attend Fairview Elementary.

His children and his ties to the community encouraged him to file for the board, he said.

“I take being a parent as a responsibility to grow the future,” Bledsoe said.

A goal Bledsoe has for the board is to “see the trust established again between the public and teachers.” He believes that teachers should be treated as professionals in the field.

“You wouldn’t question your doctor,” he said.

Bledsoe said Columbia Public Schools are going to go through some tough times in the future, citing the 2008 property tax levy increase failure and recent board decision to not make another increase proposal this year.

Mathematics is a large part of the Bledsoe family, but he believes the math curriculum debate is not a black and white issue.

“Math education should not be seen as adversarial,” he said. “It should not be just one procedure, but a balance.”

Jeannine Craig, Michelle Pruitt, Dan Holt, Adam Sorg, Bill Merideth and Greg Flippin are the other candidates for the April 7 election.

Applicants have until 5 p.m. Tuesday to file for candidacy at the office of the Board of Education secretary at 1818 W. Worley St. To be considered, candidates must be U.S. citizens at least 24 years old and residents of Missouri for at least a year, and they must pay taxes in the Columbia district.

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