Two three-year terms are on the ballot for the Neosho Board of Education on Tuesday. Three candidates are vying for those seats including current school board president Steve Douglas, board member Dan Haskins, and new candidate Steffen Wiest.

Two three-year terms are on the ballot for the Neosho Board of Education on Tuesday. Three candidates are vying for those seats including current school board president Steve Douglas, board member Dan Haskins, and new candidate Steffen Wiest.
The Neosho Daily News staff asked each candidate the same three questions.
NDN: Share with our readers why you chose to run for office or  re-election.
DOUGLAS: I chose to run for re-election because I want to continue what I originally set out to do and that was to make the Neosho Schools the best in the region. In my time on the Board, the District has added a tremendous amount of square footing from the 18 classroom FEMA structure on the front of Neosho High School, to the FEMA shelters at South and Carver Elementary schools, to the crown jewel, Neosho Junior High. Next, I would like to be an advocate for improved academics. We have much work to do to improve our academic output and progress. I would like to represent the people of the Neosho School District in pushing hard for the administrative staff to make this their second highest priority, behind sound fiscal management. We need to strive to be among the highest performing academic schools in southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas. Great schools are vital for our children and fantastic at bringing in new growth, both residential and commercial economic development.
HASKINS: The decision to seek an elected position was not something I have taken lightly, as a position for the community that impacts each of our children's education is a great honor. I have talked to several over the years about seeking a Board of Education election but was not allowed to seek political office due to my employment with the City of Joplin as a police sergeant, which was just changed a few years ago. I have been a person who has always been there to help out and serve whatever the needs are, as long as I can remember I have had a servant's heart and I want to do what I can to help serve my community and our schools. I believe in doing what's right for not only our students but for our community.
WIEST: I am running for many reasons. One of the biggest ones is for my own children, my grandchildren and future generations. I want to ensure we continue as good stewards of the community and create a positive environment. The nest reason is a little more complicated. Over the last couple of years I have seen several red flags, small things that I am able to quickly see that indicate a greater problem.
NDN: Give one reason why a voter should vote for you in this election.
HASKINS: I am not a lifelong resident of Neosho, I live here by choice. My kids to to school here because I love what our community and schools can offer.
WIEST: I feel I am a good candidate and the right one for the job, because I do not have a personal addenda. I am driven to ensure that our children continue to have a quality learning environment.
DOUGLAS: I am accountable to the citizens who have elected me and I have always taken time to listen to those who may disagree with me.
NDN: List your goals, if elected to the Board of Education.
WIEST: Reduce wasteful spending, increase reserves, increase accountability toward our teachers and students, grow programs that increase our children's ability to succeed in the workplace and in life.
HASKINS: My goals on the board are fairly simplistic in theory but could be tougher to achieve the results. With these goals we must stay steadfast towards the achievement and not lose sight on the goals which are 1: improve our district test scores and preparing our students for our futures. Regardless of their future, as their future is their choice we must ensure than we have provided the with the foundation to reach their goals. 2: Teacher and staff retention. While serving on the board since September 2017, I am always watching the resignations from our district and curious as to why people are leaving our district. I want to make sure that we are retaining and recruiting the best teachers and staff available. Then we have to keep them, which includes evaluating employee benefits. 3: Develop and prioritize a long-rang strategic plan for our district. This plan will include and primarily focus on our facilities as we have needs for almost all of our property but no clear plan to achieve these needs. I also see this including plans for staff retention and a true benefit schedule that the district can hold themselves accountable too. These are difficult goals but I believe that each and everyone one of them can be achieved. This is also a check and balance plan to help ensure that the district is being financially responsible for tax payers' money. We have some growth and exciting times coming in the future and I strive to be there to help lead the path for our children and our community.
DOUGLAS: My first goal is to focus on sound fiscal management. We recently hired a certified public accountant to be on the school staff. I wish to exercise my fiduciary responsibility as an informed board member to make certain our tax dollars are being wisely spent. Secondly, I want to push for strong academic performance. We need to push ourselves to be the best out of the schools within 50 miles of Neosho. This is vital to sustaining our community and growing our quality of life. Third, I would like to advocate for better hiring/retention practices. People are our most valuable resource. Along with working to support our teaching staff, we need to remember there are wonderful people in support roles throughout the district. From paraprofessionals to bus mechanics to custodial staff, I could go on and on - point is that all employees are valuable. We need to look at ways to support staff and grow Neosho into excellence. Lastly, I wish to advocate for better community engagement by the school board and school staff. I would like us to do all we can to seek out those who have different views and to listen to them. I would like to strength the relationship with the supporters we already have. If we can build trust and grow support for what we are trying to do, we will be able to address the future needs of Neosho's schools.
The election will be held on Tuesday, April 3.