Lane to seek seat on school board

Tuesday, December 16, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 8:41 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

Henry Lane will once again run for a seat on the Columbia Board of Education and plans to file the paperwork this morning to make his sixth candidacy official.

Lane said in a news release that his primary concerns are quality of education, financial management of the district, school property taxes and the $22.5 million bond issue that district officials are preparing to place on the April ballot.

Today marks the first day that candidates can file for a school board seat. The terms of board members Chuck Headley and Karla DeSpain expire in April.

Lane, meanwhile, is sounding themes familiar to his previous campaigns. While he could not be reached for comment about any new election strategies, his news release offered a comprehensive outline of his goals for the school district.

“Major improvements are needed in the way our school system is being managed and operated,” Lane said in the release. “They’re not going to happen, however, until new people like myself get elected to the school board who care about what’s going on and want to serve the public rather than the school administration.”

Lane said he will focus on quality of education because “too many children aren’t getting a good education.”

“Failure of our public schools to do well on (Missouri Assessment Program) tests has resulted in them being denied, for two years in a row, the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s prestigious Distinction in Performance award given to the top 30 percent of the school districts in Missouri,” Lane said.

He also said he will focus on financial management because “the school district isn’t doing a good job of managing the taxpayers’ money.”

Lane said “property taxes, 75 to 80 percent of which go to the public schools, have become so high that many people, especially those on fixed or low incomes, are having a hard time paying them.”

“What the district really needs is not more money but better management of it,” he said.

Lane also wants voters to vote “no” on the $22.5 million bond issue.

Meanwhile, neither Headley nor DeSpain would say on Monday whether they plan to seek re-election.

“I’m going to have to decide tomorrow,” Headley said Monday. If he does seek a third term, he said, he’ll continue to focus on past themes.

“The number one thing, of course, is student learning and achievement,” he said. “That’s why we’re there.”

He also said that if he’s re-elected he wants to maintain services that are important to teachers in the face of budget constraints.

DeSpain said she will announce today whether she’ll run for her second term. In the past, she said, she has focused on student achievement.

“(I focus on) student achievement in general, looking at programs to make sure they’re accomplishing the most for the students, while being cost-effective,” she said.

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