Candidates for Kirksville City Council and for the Kirksville R-III School District school board participated in the Kirksville Area Chamber of Commerce’s candidate forum on Tuesday.
The Kirksville Daily Express moderated the event and candidates had three minutes to make an opening statement, two minutes to respond to questions and two minutes for a closing statement. Larry Burton, executive director of the Adair County Ambulance District, gave a presentation about a ballot proposition before the candidates presented their opening remarks.
City Council candidates presented before the school board candidates. Phillip Biston, Glen Moritz and Kevin Alm are running for the open seat on the City Council. The three candidates were asked about maintaining economic growth, plans for the new aquatic center and how to involve the community with the project, plans for engaging the Missouri Department of Transportation about fixing Baltimore Street, and how to move forward regarding the growing immigrant population in Kirksville.
Biston said he would like to see more economic growth moving forward. He said he supported more input from citizens on the aquatic center and would like to work more with MoDOT on how to best make Baltimore Street repairs. Biston said he would like to see more opportunities for those who speak English as a second language to ease into the Kirksville community.
Moritz said he would continue with the current economic growth pattern, encouraging more businesses to expand and locate to Kirksville. He said he would heavily involve the public in decisions about the new aquatic center and would push to see more action from MoDOT regarding Baltimore Street. He said he would like to see more education for city staff to learn how to better integrate the city’s rising immigrant population.
Alm said he would like to see more businesses in Kirksville and new ownership of businesses. He said the current location of the new aquatic center is too small and the project needs more work. Alm said he would like to find out why MoDOT is not working on Baltimore Street and take city action on the street, if necessary. He said he did not have an answer to the question about the growing immigrant population in Kirksville.
After the City Council candidates’ closing remarks, candidates for the Kirksville R-III school board followed. Matt Copeland, Gay Nichting and Michael Bishop II are running for the two open seats on the school board. The three candidates were asked about qualities they would like to see in the next Ray Miller Elementary principal, technology in the classroom, how to accommodate the rising number of students on the autism spectrum and how to improve teaching in STEM areas.
Copeland said he would look for someone with the credentials and a compelling nature as the next principal. He supported more technology in the classroom and would like to see more education for teaching staff and the community about autism. Copeland said with the decreasing science-test scores, there is an opportunity for change and would like to see a bigger group-based approach to the problem.
Nichting said she would like to see someone on the cutting edge of education with new ideas fill the role of the next principal. She said the needs for technology in education are ongoing and she would like to see more attention paid to autism at an early age. She said she would like to hear from teachers about solutions for the lower science test scores.
Bishop said he would be looking for a leader that inspires teachers and students to be the next principal. He said he thinks technology is an essential part of learning, and he would seek the input from the special needs department on how to best serve current and future students. Bishop said the best way to raise student test scores is to gain input from and to help teachers as much as possible.
Municipal elections will be held on April 3.