Cheering at Teresa Maledy’s watch party may have only started after the final votes were counted, but the candidate had pulled ahead well before then.
“The campaign even though it’s been outside of my comfort-zone I’ve been overwhelmed with the type of support and really people who were enthusiastic about me running. So that feels great, and I want to make sure I work hard for them.”
She says her priorities include closing the achievement gap, retaining good teachers and making sure the district maintains the trust and support of the community.
Monica Miller had eyes focused to the front of the room where the results were projected on a large screen. She’s the chairwoman of the Columbia Missouri National Education Association PAC, which endorsed Maledy.
“She has already shown that she is a strong advocate for Columbia Public Schools and for public schools. And that is something that is desperately needed not only in our community, but in our nation,” Miller said.
Christine King was the only incumbent member who ran for the Columbia Board of Education. She came in fourth in the five-way race.
King hugged her friends at the end of the watch party. She served three terms on the board, but will not be running again.
“Even if I would have won, I wasn’t going to run again,” she said. “Twelve years would have been enough… I would, honestly to be still involved in some boundary discussions on that committee.”
Being involved is also what Susan Blackburn wanted to do after retiring from teaching. She, and Maledy were the two newcomers to the board. Blackburn looks forward to using her experience to serve the community.
“We have a fabulous community” Blackburn said. “I want to work really hard for them. I wanted to make sure I am out listening to the community, learning from other board members and I have a strong focus on student achievement and school safety.”
Columbia voters also approved a $30-million bond issue for Columbia Public Schools, with an overwhelming 83% voting yes.
The bond will not require a new tax increase, but will be paid by debt service fund instead. The district would spend over $20 million from the bond on building improvements and additions, as well as $5 million on completion of a new middle school.
The board of education proposed the bond amid growing enrollment in an effort to reduce overcrowding, improve learning environment at schools, and increase functional life and efficiencies of the facilities.
With the passage of the bond issue, “we will have gone from 174 trailers when we started 10 years ago, to less than 20 trailers, when we complete these projects,” said Michelle Baumstark, community relations director of the school district.
“So we're keeping true to our promises to our community and certainly are continuing to plan for the future.” Baumstark added.
Both the newly elected members of the board, Teresa Maledy and Susan Blackburn expressed support for the bond issue.