Today's Question: Finding the future ideal School Board member

Sunday, May 31, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

On June 11, the Columbia School Board will interview candidates to fill a vacancy left by Rosie Tippin, who recently resigned because of health reasons. Candidates can apply for the position until June 5.

Two months ago, students from the Columbia School District questioned candidates vying in April for two open seats.  The candidates were questioned on how they viewed certain issues facing the schools — budget cuts, the unweighted grading system currently in place and how to make schools more environmentally conscious.

But the difference between candidates seeking the April openings and the current spot to be filled in June is that last time the decisions were based on election outcomes, whereas the School Board will choose who will fill Tippin’s seat until the next election in April 2010.

There are certainly many stakeholders in the selection process: students, parents, faculty and the broader community. Some issues that came up during the last campaign included teacher salary schedules, the achievement gap among students in the district and communication between the community and the board.

Without an election, there’s always the possibility someone’s interests might not be taken into account. The board, however, has the chance to consider the skills and characteristics each candidate has that will benefit the district as a whole.

What qualities in candidates should the Columbia School Board consider in choosing a replacement for Tippin?

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