Columbia Missouri National Education Association to Host Virtual School Board Candidate Forum | Elections

COLUMBIA — Columbia School Board candidates will have another chance to share their positions on local issues Thursday in the Columbia Missouri National Education Association’s online candidate forum.

Residents can click on this link to register for the Zoom webinarwhich will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Noelle Gilzow, president of the CMNEA, said the organization was invested in considering how nominees would represent the needs of students, teachers and parents.

“We want a school board member who supports public education,” Gilzow said. “We want a school board that supports teachers and our right to collective bargaining. We want school board members who have the best interests of our students, first and foremost, in mind.

This will be the first forum to feature all four candidates for the school board.

There will be at least one moderator who will ask the four contestants pre-selected questions which will be answered within the time limit. All contestants will also have the opportunity to make opening and closing comments.

Gilzow said she expects the candidates to discuss a variety of topics, including legislation from the Missouri legislature proposing a “parents’ bill of rights”, masking and other COVID mitigation strategies. -19, collective bargaining and teacher retention efforts.

“There is great concern across the country about teachers leaving the profession, and so that has been on the minds of many people.” Gilzow said: “So there might be a question about, ‘Okay, well, how are we going to keep our teachers?’, so we don’t have this mass exodus at the end of the school year. and we leave short-staffed.”

This is the second forum for school board candidates, following a forum hosted by the Columbia Board of Realtors two weeks ago. School board incumbent Blake Willoughby was unable to attend the CBOR forum due to a labor dispute.

The deadline to register to vote in the April 5 elections is March 9.

Perry A. Thomasson