School board candidates file fundraising numbers with county clerk

Monday, March 16, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 9:13 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, March 17, 2009

This story has been updated with information about who has to file campaign fundraising reports. Also, candidate Sam Phillips loaned his campaign $500; a previous version of this story incorrectly characterized the loan.

COLUMBIA — Four of the nine candidates for Columbia School Board have, combined, raised almost $10,000 so far, according to reports filed with the Boone County clerk's office. 

Christine King, Marc Bledsoe, Michelle Pruitt and Sam Phillips have raised $9,988.67 for their campaigns. Phillips reported the most money raised: $3,860.51.

How much each candidate raised

Marc Bledsoe

  • $2,297.00

Christine King

  • $200.16

Sam Phillips

  • $3,860.51 (includes $500 loan)

Michelle Pruitt

  •   $3,791.00

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The candidates are running for seats being vacated by board President Michelle Gadbois and Vice President Steve Calloway. The election is April 7.

The highest single contribution was $700 to the Bledsoe campaign. Pruitt raised the most in a single day, however, netting $1,740 at her Feb. 13 fundraiser at Mojo's, a downtown bar and music venue.

There are no limits on how large a campaign donation can be because state lawmakers repealed contribution limits in July.

The other five candidates — Dan Holt, Jeannine Craig, Greg Flippin, Adam Sorg and Bill Meredith — did not file any campaign contribution reports. Candidates are only required to report fundraising totals if they have formed a committee for their campaigns. Candidates are allowed to raise up to $500 without reporting it, according to the Boone County clerk's office.

Documents from the Boone County clerk's office show:

  • Although Phillips raised the most money, he is the only candidate to have given his campaign a loan. It is for $500.
  • Most of the money remains unused. The most common expenditure among the candidates has been on Web sites.
  • Phillips has spent the most money to date: $603.47. He used most of it for office supplies and postage. He is the only candidate to have a hired campaign staff member, to whom he has paid $50. Phillips has kept his campaign well-fed, spending $111.30 on pizzas for the staff.
  • The only current school board member who has contributed $100 or more is Ines Segert, who gave $100 to the Pruitt campaign. Like Segert, Pruitt has been an advocate of teaching traditional math in the schools.

Candidates are required to report the names and addresses of contributors of $100 or more. However, three of the four candidates who filed information with the clerk's office provided information about every donor; King did not.

Besides monetary donations, candidates also report "in-kind" donations of  time or items. For instance, Pruitt reported in-kind donations for when her husband's band, the Bel Airs, performed at the Mojo's fundraiser.

"I had three musicians play, and they donated their time," Pruitt explained, "so I had them donate $75 in-kind."

Craig has stated she would not seek money for her campaign. In a biography she hands out, the first sentence reads, "I do not plan to run an organized campaign."

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Kelly Durante April 3, 2009 | 11:28 a.m.

Pruitt is dedicated to our children's education and has a history of serving our district. She is motivated to ensure the highest quality curricula for our district and she will make judicious decisions to maximize the money spent in the classroom, including operating the salary schedule for our outstanding teachers.

She's smart, involved, and has the greatest understanding of our district's most critical issues. She is ready to hit the ground running.

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

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