(SHELBINA, MO) On Tuesday April 2nd, 2019, voters within the Shelby County R-lV School District will be faced with several races and candidates vying for a position on the South Shelby School Board. Those races are two openings for a three year term, one opening for a two year term, and one opening for a one year term. The three candidates running for the three year term are Kevin Glover, Darin Eleazarraraz and Jim Foster (voters will choose two). The candidate running unopposed for the two year term is Amy Harre, and the candidate running unopposed for the one year term is Tina Dovin. In the only competitive race for the school board, Foster and Eleazarraraz are the incumbents. In the other race(s) Amy Harre is also an incumbent. We reached out to the candidates within the competitive race (three year term) with a list of questions asking for their opinion on a wide range of issues. Those questions and answers are stated below.

QUESTION 1: Who are you? (Bio, history, where you graduated, employment, etc.)

FOSTER: “ My name is Jim Foster and I am a 1983 graduate of the Shelby County R-IV School District and a 1991 graduate of The University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine. I have continually practiced veterinary medicine and surgery for the past 28 years at Red Barn Veterinary Services in Shelbina, Missouri and am a co-founder of our practice. In that time, I have served as a Shelbina Arts Council Board member and have for the past several years served as co-president. I am also a local historian and board member of The Shelby County Historical Society and have been a livestock farmer for the past 46 years. 20 years ago I established by own internet company and have in that time been an exporter of vintage collectibles specializing in vintage textiles. I am currently finishing a three -year term on The Shelby County R-IV Board of Education and am serving as vice president.”

ELEAZARRARAZ: “My name is Darin Eleazarraraz. My family and I have lived in Clarence for almost 4 years, and I work as the Marketing Supervisor for Chariton Valley in Macon. My prior employment allowed me experience in both the financial industry as well as Insurance. I have a bachelor’s degree from Missouri Western State University in Business Management, emphasis Marketing. I am a member of the Crossroads Christian Church in Macon, and currently serve as a Deacon, Treasurer and finance ministry team leader. I also have extensive experience serving on multiple community boards and committees. I am currently a member of the Rotary Club of Macon County, serving as a board member and past finance chair. I have previously served on the Economic Development Board of Macon County, last serving in the role of Vice President. I believe that my expertise and experience, along with my commitment to improve our communities will allow me to support this district in its continued commitment to excellence.”

GLOVER: “​My name is Kevin Glover and I am running for Shelby County R-IV School Board. I was born and raised in Shelbina, Mo. I graduated from South Shelby in 1995. After graduation I joined the military and served 3 years in the Army. I am married to Alicia "Cox" Glover and she is from Clarence and also graduated from South Shelby, in 1996. We live in Shelbina and have 2 kids, CJ will graduate this year and Casen is in 8th grade. I work at and have managed Northeast Diesel Service in Shelbina for the last 20 years. Northeast Diesel Service is a family owned business my father started in 1976.”

QUESTION 2: Why are you running? Please include the race you are running in!

FOSTER: “I am running for re-election to serve a 3 year term on The Shelby County R-IV Board of Education because I believe that every child is entitled to a quality education and that we as a community are in partnership with our educators. In my opinion, every child has the potential to help build a better world and that they are an extension of us.”

ELEAZARRARAZ: “I am currently running on the ballot for the 3-yr term for Shelby County R-IV, for which 2 directors shall be elected. Whether working with youth groups, church groups, or community organizations, I have a long history of performing community-oriented work. I view service to the school board as, possibly, the greatest way to give back to my community. I have enjoyed my time serving on the board since I was appointed and look forward to an opportunity to continue to serve our great community. I truly believe that the time I have already served on the board allows me to be a strong candidate to provide my skills and talents to contribute to the future success of the school district. I have a strong interest in the school district and want to make sure that our children get the best education possible. I have taken an active role, in areas of focus to best serve our district. I pledge to continue to diligently study and understand the perils to the district, and work with the other members of the board to make sure all resources are being utilized to their highest possibility. I am available to the community, to hear and understand the patrons hopes and desires for our district and children.”

GLOVER: “​I am running for a 3 year school board term. I want to help better the children's education at South Shelby by having a strong voice when it comes to hard decisions and leading by example. I will listen to all concerns with an open mind and be transparent. I believe all students deserve to be treated with respect!”

QUESTION 3: What is the most pressing issue facing Shelby County R-lV - how will you change/improve it?

FOSTER: “When it comes to critical and pressing issues, I feel that school safety and detrimental influences such as drug abuse are on the minds of every school district including school board members. My medical knowledge, I believe, gives me an insight into what some of these substances can do and I know that this is a crucial topic in all districts. Our district is very proactive in providing training sessions for our educators on this topic and we have an excellent relationship with our local law enforcement agencies who are coming into our school to help educate our students on the dangers of substance abuse.”

ELEAZARRARAZ: “Currently our most pressing issue is the fiscal responsibility, to provide an efficient and useful elementary building. It is important to make sure that all commitments are fulfilled, and security and protection for the students and staff are of utmost importance. As previously mentioned, safety and security concerns involving the campus are extremely important, and in the current state of the world, we need to make sure that additional protocols are addressed, including a Resource Officer on the grounds during the school day.”

GLOVER: “​The most pressing issue facing Shelby County R-IV is the consolidation of the elementary's.​ ​I will work with the board members and keep the patrons concerns in mind. Most importantly, keeping it within budget and what was promised.”

QUESTION 4: In your eyes, how is the new elementary project going? Is there anything going the way it shouldn't be? Could be changed?

FOSTER: “The current South Shelby Elementary School construction project is on schedule and like any building project we must navigate the continual change in supply costs and I feel we are working well as a board with our administration and architect to do that so that we may stay within our budget while at the same time giving our teachers and students a great facility that is conducive to learning and that is also safe. If I could change anything, I would love to change the weather which we all know affects construction.”

ELEAZARRARAZ: “As in the previous answer, this is a huge area of focus to the board, and I am confident that all options, resources, input and questions are being addressed. It is natural for many to wonder and have concerns regarding the budget, and this is priority #1 for the board to make sure we are being the best stewards for the patrons hard earned dollars.”

GLOVER: “​ I have been to the last 4 monthly board meetings, along with one special meeting that was dedicated to the consolidation of the elementary's, all of which are open to the public. When the first bids came in high, I was disappointed as any other patron was. It seemed to me not enough important information was giving to the general contractors from the architect firm, causing the bids to be way high. The board has currently rejected the bids and are awaiting new bids. This unfortunately has caused a delay, which I believe is necessary in order to give the patrons what they were promised and within budget.”

QUESTION 5: What is the one thing that Shelby County R-lV hasn't addressed that needs to be addressed? What is one thing that you think should be changed?

FOSTER: “In the three past years that I have been on our board, we have addressed many issues. Teacher recruitment and retention is an area that needs more work. Teacher shortage is a crucial issue everywhere especially in the areas of math and science but do not think it is only limited to these two areas as we are seeing it in other vital areas of study. I feel that our school district including our patrons are going to have to reach out to our legislators to find solutions which most likely will involve raising teacher pay and creating employment incentives. I would also like to see driver’s education and industrial arts in all districts.”

ELEAZARRARAZ: “My day to day profession revolves around communication. This is always an area of focus for any group, and I think that Shelby County R-IV does a good job communicating to the public. Tools such as the call notification service and social media are being utilized, and I think the new website is a great improvement. The reality is, we live in a world with information and updates at our fingertips. I believe the administration is taking steps in the right direction to continue to provide communication to the public. I feel that we as a board can seek out additional resources to provide better communication to our communities.”

GLOVER: “​ I have been to the last 4 monthly board meetings, along with one special meeting that was dedicated to the consolidation of the elementary's, all of which are open to the public. When the first bids came in high, I was disappointed as any other patron was. It seemed to me not enough important information was giving to the general contractors from the architect firm, causing the bids to be way high. The board has currently rejected the bids and are awaiting new bids. This unfortunately has caused a delay, which I believe is necessary in order to give the patrons what they were promised and within budget.”

** Writer’s note: Candidate Kevin Glover opted to include the same answer for both question four and question five.**

QUESTION 6: As a board member, how would you like to see the Shelbina and Clarence Elementary buildings used once students completely consolidate?

FOSTER: “The best example that I can give is Red Barn Veterinary Services in that it was once an old white farmhouse and an old red barn that were refurbished to create a viable business within the city limits of Shelbina.”

ELEAZARRARAZ: “My hope would be to see each building continuing to be a cornerstone to each community, once we transition into the new elementary building. Whether it be utilized for civic purposes, business use or other purpose, I believe there is opportunity and hope to utilize each building. Committees have been formed for input from each community, and while I haven’t been directly involved, with my past experience in economic development I would be more than happy to be an additional representative from the board to work with the committees.”

GLOVER: “​Once the Clarence and Shelbina elementary students are consolidated I would like to see the Clarence and Shelbina buildings somehow used for community centers. I have not discussed any logistics regarding this issue, but it will need to be discussed in the future.”

QUESTION 7: According to DESE, math scores and reading scores are just below the state average. How as a board member, could you help bring those scores up?

FOSTER: “In the past couple of years, our board of education voted to financially support and implement a computer education testing program called “EVALUATE.” This allows our students, on their own, to take online tests in various subjects giving our teachers and administrators a virtual report card on how our students are performing. Our Superintendent, Mr. Tim Maddex has created a monthly report that he sends out to our board so that we may also see the areas of proficiency and deficiency that our teachers are carefully monitoring so that they may work to elevate education. We recently saw the return on our investment as our district recently received word that our State APR scores were nearly 100%.”

ELEAZARRARAZ: “First off, let me say that we have outstanding educators in our district. Our administration does a great job of keeping the board updated of program evaluations. Identifying and reviewing programs such as Evaluate give a real-time scorecard on progress and growth in the students. Our job as a board, is to continue to provide resources and address any areas of needs. To support the administration to make sure our youth are prepared and skilled for college and career readiness. Due to changes in learning standards, testing scores and assessment are not comparable to years past. I would stress focus on our recent APR scores, and the validation these scores show that our district is continuing to prepare our students for success after graduation.”

GLOVER: “​As a board member I will keep the students education and safety my number one priority. I think the administration and teaching staff are doing the best they can with the tools they have. There is always room to grow and I will do my part to help. “

QUESTION 8: What is your opinion on school vouchers and charter schools?

FOSTER: “It is a complicated situation and I feel that comparing rural school districts to urban school districts puts the rural districts into an unfair situation. My opinion is that the individuals making these suggestions and decisions need to spend time in our classrooms and that we need to look at finding solutions to the issues at hand. I would also suggest that our legislators work with our teachers on the days that the Missouri State tests are given and that they be made to take these tests and then wait the several months that it takes to get the tests scores back.”

ELEAZARRARAZ: “If ever the situation arose, where a charter school came into the area, again our APR scores show that our district is continuing to prepare our students for success after graduation.”

GLOVER: “​My opinion on voucher and charter schools lies in the hands of the parents. Every child learns differently and requires different learning strategies and opportunities.”

QUESTION 9: If the bible literacy bill (HB 267) is passed in Jefferson City, would you as a board member support the idea of offering a bible literacy elective at Shelby County R-lV?

FOSTER: “If passed and mandated, as a board member I would have no choice in the matter. As a taxpayer, citizen and someone who was raised in The Lowman Chapel United Methodist Church, I would be curious to see how many qualified teachers there are in teaching a Bible literacy course considering our current teacher shortage. We are blessed in Shelby County to have many strong churches, church families and also the Shiloh Christian Children’s Ranch.”

ELEAZARRARAZ: “I would support the idea if the bill is passed to offer bible literacy as an elective course. No student should be made to feel that his or her personal beliefs or practices are being questioned, infringed upon or compromised. A student should never feel singled out because of his or her religious beliefs.”

GLOVER: “​I support the idea of giving the students a choice in their own education. Whether it be an art class, band, weight lifting or even a bible literacy class. All students have these choices.”

QUESTION 10: Feel free to include anything here, any last comments or concerns!

FOSTER: “In the past three years, as a member of The Shelby County R-IV Board of Education, I have been educated on many levels. I have witnessed the dedication of our educators and support staff who work long hours including nights and weekends to help create well rounded successful students. I am very proud of our district in the work that is achieved for all students including those who have special needs. Education is a community partnership that I strongly support.”

ELEAZARRARAZ: “When school board seats change frequently, data shows that student performance tends to drop after a few years. I believe that due to my experience & my time already spent serving on the board, best allow me to support this district in its continued commitment to excellence. My primary goal as a school board member is to listen, reflect and advocate for the needs and wants of our schools and communities while understanding the deeper, more strategic needs from a non-biased perspective. I would appreciate your vote in April.”

GLOVER: “​I have coached youth sports for several years and realized very quickly, not all kids are the same. Each child learns and develops differently. Watching a child grow and learn is a great opportunity. Children need great leadership but they also require great respect! By giving me the opportunity to be a school board member I will always put the kids education and safety first. I would appreciate your vote on April 2nd.”