Three upcoming forums spotlight school board candidates

Sunday, March 8, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CST; updated 9:22 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, March 10, 2009

COLUMBIA — Nine candidates are competing for two seats on the seven-member Columbia School Board, which are currently held by President Michelle Gadbois and Vice President Steve Calloway. Neither is running for re-election.

To prepare for the April 7 election, various organizations have scheduled three candidate forums to allow the voters to get to know the candidates better. Those candidates are Christine King, Sam Phillips, Marc Bledsoe, Greg Flippin, Bill Merideth, Adam Sorg, Dan Holt, Michelle Pruitt and Jeannine Craig.


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The first of the three forums, organized by the Boone County Republican Women’s Club, will be held Monday at Jack's Gourmet Restaurant, 1903 Business Loop 70 E. The luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. and will include three-minute speeches from the candidates followed by a question-and-answer session.

The League of Women Voters will hold the second forum on March 19 in the Friends Room of the Columbia Public Library, 100 W. Broadway. Refreshments will be available at 6 p.m., and the forum will start at 6:30 p.m.

The Columbia Community Parent-Teachers Association, the Columbia Missouri National Education Association, the Columbia Public Schools Employee Organization and the Columbia Parents for Public Schools will present a forum on March 16 at the District Administration Building, 1818 W. Worley St. Attendees will be able to speak with the candidates during a meet-and-greet session starting at 5:30 p.m., followed by the forum from 8 to 9 p.m.

The three forums are designed to cover various topics, including communication between the board and parents, the budget deficit, public trust and the math curriculum. Candidates will also discuss how they are campaigning.

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Kelly Durante April 3, 2009 | 11:23 a.m.

We are all fortunate to have Michelle Pruitt on the ballot for the upcoming school board election. Pruitt has lived in the district with her family since 1995 and has been a CPS parent for thirteen years, with seven more to go. Pruitt’s background is in Physics and Mathematics. She earned degrees both here at MU and at the Scripps Institution in La Jolla, California. She is intelligent, insightful, and deeply invested in our public schools.

Pruitt has a familiar face and name for many in Columbia. Since her first public statement about the district’s math curriculum two years ago, she has become increasingly involved in district-wide issues dealing with achievement, instruction, and educational equity. She founded Columbia Parents for Real Math and has served on the middle school and elementary math curriculum committees, the Mathematics Community Advisory Committee, and the Achievement Gap Task Force. She also serves as treasurer for the Columbia Area Gifted and Talented PTA. As a board member, she would work hard to restore the public’s faith in the district by making sound budget decisions, focusing resources on the classroom, and following data-driven research to improve our schools.

Michelle Pruitt has a record of demonstrating her commitment through service. Her candidacy has at its core a sincere devotion to all of the children in our district, a profound respect for our brilliant teachers, and a heartfelt passion to empower and involve parents in the educational process. In short, she is dedicated to our future.

I can't wait to vote for Michelle Pruitt on Tuesday!

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