Voters have five good options for the Columbia Board of Education. The only downside is the board needs just two.
Each candidate brings a unique perspective and skill set to the table, and all ran positive races and deserve a round of applause.
One candidate has shined brightest: Teresa Maledy.
Maledy is as professional as they come, and her civic involvement and professional accolades are to be admired. We wonder if there’s a local board she hasn’t served on. Her involvement on the Stephens College board of directors and with the Cradle to Career Alliance are just a couple of examples.
Maledy knows how a board should operate, and understands the responsibility a board has to both internal and external stakeholders. She will represent Columbia parents, teachers and administrators well if elected, finding the balance needed to ensure all voices are heard.
Our second endorsement goes to Susan Blackburn. Her 29-year career as a teacher, most of it as an early reading specialist, will be a boon to the school board. Our hope is that by adding Blackburn to the school board her knowledge and experience will seep into every school. Literacy is the cornerstone of learning, and Blackburn understands this.
Our endorsements shouldn’t be considered a slight to the other candidates. We hope to see them all run again. Christine King has spent nine years on the board and has helped Columbia Public Schools accomplish great things. Ben Tilley encompasses a rare blend of business, teaching and school administration experience not often found. And Tyler Lero, the youngest and most inexperienced of the group, has a philanthropic spirit and is a credit to young adults everywhere.
Regardless of how you vote for school board, it will be a vote well cast. Our votes are for Maledy and Blackburn.
School bond issue
The Columbia school district has lived up to its promises with recent bond obligations and the request for $30 million more to finish building a new middle school and other renovations will ensure it keeps another one. Plus, approving the bond issue will cost voters nothing and will keep further bond issues off the ballot in years to come.
There are currently about 65 trailers being used in Columbia Public Schools to compensate for overcrowding, but that number will go down to 20 if the bond issue is approved. Trailers are a temporary solution and not conducive to a long-term learning environment. Gentry Middle School is bursting with about 200 more students than it was built to handle. Jefferson and Smithton middle schools are expected to go beyond capacity next year. A yes vote Tuesday will fix those problems and more.
Boone Hospital trustee
On one side of the race for Boone Hospital Center trustee is Greg Steinhoff, who wants to keep the door open to a partnership between University of Missouri Health Care and Boone Hospital, and on the other is Mark Dempsey, who also will not rule out such a partnership, but believes reaching an agreement with MU might hurt the community by limiting competition.
Both are accomplished in their respective fields, knowledgeable about the issues facing Boone Hospital and are committed to doing right by the community. The key difference is in their experience.
Steinhoff has a leg up on Dempsey in the hospital lease negotiations because of his role as a former trustee, including four months last year while the board was exploring hospital lease proposals. Steinhoff also has significant financial sector experience, including as a former Missouri director of economic development.
That experience makes Steinhoff our choice for trustee.
With MU’s narrow network percolating into the private sector, Boone risks being starved of its market share even more. Boone posted an $11 million loss last year, and its future prospects look bleak.
There is no learning curve for Steinhoff. He’s seen the hospital during its best and worst of times, and we believe his expertise is what’s needed right now.