Incumbent Jenifer Seaver and challengers Lannie Sullivan and Renee Bungart are vying for the two available seats on the Cole County R-1 (Russellville) Board of Education for the April 6 ballot.
Seaver, of Russellville, is the current board secretary and president of Missouri Baptist Credit Union. She said she decided to run for re-election because she enjoys being involved with the district.
The biggest issue facing the district is the need for more space, she said. The board is considering different options for adding more space to determine what's best for the district's needs. Her priority is to make the best decisions for the school district as it grows.
"We've got a lot of big decisions coming up with regard to how we transition to accommodate for that growth," Seaver said.
Another priority, she said, is dealing with COVID-19 and the changes it has caused, allocating CARES Act money and doing what's best for the students amid the pandemic.
"We've been fortunate to be in seat the entire time, but that doesn't come without its own set of issues," she said.
She wants to continue the improvements that have been made in the district, such as recently adding football, "which also helps with growth and the desirability of the district," she said.
Sullivan, of Russellville, is a distribution systems operations supervisor for Ameren. He said he decided to run for the school board because he wants to help create positive change in the community and keep the district on track.
If elected, he said, his top priority would be to provide quality education to the students. He said he would like to improve some of the education programs.
"I think some of the programs are a little hard for the kids to learn," he said.
Another goal would be to improve transparency between staff and parents.
"The communication right now is terrible between the administration and the parents when they need something," he said.
One of the biggest issues facing the district is the need for facility renovations, he said.
"Our school's getting pretty outdated," he said. "They've redone some of the cafeteria and kitchen stuff, but as far as the other parts, there's things in that school that's been there since I was in grade school — and I graduated in 1997, so I think we need improvement in the building itself."
Bungart, of Russellville, is a website administrator and former communications director for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. She said she decided to run for the school board because she's a "firm believer in public service" and wants to contribute to the community's growth.
If elected, Bungart would like to ensure every student can learn virtually when necessary. The district has used technology for students to learn from home on snow days or due to COVID-19 concerns, but not all students have internet or devices.
Another goal, she said, is to expand science, technology, engineering and math resources.
"That plays a critical role for our students, not only just for the ones who are going to go on to college, but it can help them in their everyday life and work experience after school," she said.
She's also interested in expanding the district's professional learning communities — groups of educators who meet regularly to collaborate — so teachers can learn more teaching skills from other school districts.
Bungart said she also wants to consider expanding the district, as she anticipates the new football program bringing in more students.
"We probably do need to look at those resources to make sure we're able to expand for additional students that may come in," she said. "We need to do some prolonged planning for those increases in numbers."