Board of Education Candidates

利众棋牌Five of the six candidates running for school board seats appear at a candidate forum held earlier this month at Troester Media Center.

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Six candidates are confronting a race of endurance for command of the St. Joseph School District where the finish line, within sight for some days now, has just been moved far down the road and over the horizon.

Citing COVID-19 public health concerns, Gov. Mike Parson acted in the last week to suspend local elections set for April and tentatively re-scheduled them for Tuesday, June 2. In addition to the News-Press NOW televised candidate forums previously set for Monday, March 30, and Tuesday, March 31, Parson’s decision imposes a significant delay for the campaigns of Joshua Hall, Rick Gilmore, Ken Reeder, Brian Shewell, Michelle Traster and Lori Witham.

Witham echoes the experiences of many in wondering, if COVID-19 changes the circumstances of every kind of public event almost every hour of every day, how can public leaders adapt?

利众棋牌“I think the district has done a reasonable job at trying to answer some of the questions and concerns, as much as can be expected,” she said. “The one things I know from a 21-year career in education is that teachers are flexible people. We are resilient and make frequent adjustments and tweaks. When something isn’t working, teachers back up and go at it from a different angle.”

Traster, who has a family member that relies on medical treatments that suppress the immune system and thus must take extreme precautions with that person’s care during this time, said the wisdom of previous generations will be key in learning how to adapt to COVID-19.

利众棋牌“We’re venturing in unexplored territory here,” she said. “This is the first time in my lifetime where we’ve had anything like this. My grandmother can remember a time like this, where they had to take shelter against disease. The very first time her father ever spanked her bottom was because she had the mumps and had to stay home but kept asking to go outside and play.

利众棋牌“Definitely, staying out of school right now is the right move. We have to make sure that we maintain good communication to everyone in the district so people have time to prepare.”

利众棋牌Shewell is left wondering, with two extra months added to the campaign calendar, how can he re-evaluate his message so that would-be constituents keep his name in their minds for a delayed election.

“We have to try to figure out, ‘OK, what’s our best strategy now,’” he said. “I think our community has done very well with preparedness. I think getting ahead of it before it gets to be an extreme problem will be an asset for St. Joe. Some communities that didn’t prepare as well are really struggling with it right now, so I think our preparedness is really great.”

Reeder said he is trying to avoid usage of traditional media and advertising to spread his message, instead relying on digital communication. Thus, he expects the delay won’t be especially disruptive.

“You’ve got the powers that be who are only going to support two chosen candidates, the ones who will support a single mega school,” Reeder said. “In that sense there’s more time for those efforts to have more of an effect. It’s kind of a smelly situation.”

Asked what any of that has to do with COVID-19, Reeder demurred.

“With us being delayed for another couple months that allows that unlevel playing field to continue for another two months,” he said. “That leaves things open for advancement of a certain agenda.”

Gilmore is concerned first and foremost with ensuring all students who depend on free and reduced lunch continue to receive nutritional assistance.

利众棋牌“There’s a lot of children that are dependent on meals,” he said. “They’ve made those available at the schools, but it would be nice if we could take extra steps to be sure that those children could get those meals. I’ve seen the suggestion that school buses could load up with meals for delivery to kids at bus stops. It might not be bad to do something like that.

“We’ll just have to wait and see if they do that. The health and safety of everyone is what is important,”he said.

Hall said he is determined to put all political considerations aside for now, for the good of the community.

“We’re always looking at a ‘Better safe than sorry,’ situation,” he said. “My only real thoughts are that as a parent of a senior, I feel awful for every kid that’s involved. This is the year for scholarship assemblies, senior proms, bands and more. I hope that we can find a way to give every kid what they’ve earned here during their journey in St. Joe.

利众棋牌“We need to be focused on the idea that lower-income families and families on paycheck to paycheck are in an even worse position,” he said. “There’s a lot that weren’t planning on suddenly feeding three to five kids that now have to deal with that. We have to help them.”

Marcus Clem can be reached

at marcus..

Follow him on Twitter: @AdAstraGorilla.