Most races for school board contested

Tuesday, April 1, 2003

Concerns about school finance and an interest in construction projects have given voters in Cape Girardeau, Scott, Bollinger and Perry counties plenty of candidates to choose from in upcoming school board elections.

In 12 school districts in those four counties, all but two school board elections are contested, with a total of 47 candidates running.

Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. April 8. The majority of school districts will fill two vacancies of three-year terms. The Perryville School District also has a special two-year term to fill.

Most candidates say their decision to run was based on a desire to become involved with their local schools, but factors such as impending budget cuts and ongoing building projects also played a role.

Bill Van De Ven, a candidate for the Meadow Heights School Board, said his concern over state budget cuts motivated him.

"There comes a point when they can only take so much money from the education budget. We can't allow that anymore," said Van De Ven.

In Oak Ridge, construction of a new multipurpose building and a change in administration spurred incumbent Darrell Hahs to run for re-election.

"We've had several major projects ongoing, and I hope to see the completion of those. I also hope to help with the transition of a new superintendent," Hahs said.

Only two candidates filed for the two vacancies on the Cape Girardeau School Board -- incumbent William Bird and newcomer Robert Brown.

Not enough candidates filed in the Chaffee School District to fill the board's three vacancies. A write-in candidate is expected to join incumbent candidates Donna Cannon and Jon Townsend.

Cape Girardeau County Clerk Rodney Miller said April elections generally draw a voter turnout of between 25 and 40 percent, depending on the number of candidates and issues on the ballot.

"There may be a better turnout in a district where there's a hot issue," Miller said.

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