Four candidates for the Jasper R-5 Board of Education faced a gymnasium full of about 70 Jasper area residents for a question and answer session about the future of the Jasper district.


Four candidates for the Jasper R-5 Board of Education faced a gymnasium full of about 70 Jasper area residents for a question and answer session about the future of the Jasper district.

Candidates Tim Atnip, Danny Baker, Carol Corle and Joe Heger answered a list of prepared questions then faced questions from the audience in a candidate forum hosted by the Jasper Community Teachers Association.

The candidates each answered a total of nine questions in the forum that lasted a little more than an hour.

“I think we got some information out,” said Tom Jones, vice president of the JCTA and moderator of the forum. “In that way we did what we wanted to do. I would have liked to have had more questions from the audience but we just ran out of time.”

The candidates got the chance to introduce themselves before delving into the six questions provided them in advance of the forum.

Tim Atnip, the one incumbent seeking reelection, said the district faces challenges but it has the resources to meet those challenges.

“We don’t enjoy a lot of things in the Jasper School District that a lot of other people do,” Atnip said. “Our money is pretty tight, we’re not broke by any means but we try to watch your money very closely. We don’t enjoy a lot of industrial tax or utility tax that a lot of other districts have so we have to work with local money. Any time we try to do anything, it involves local money so we as a board try to be a steward of your money and watch how we spend your money.”

Danny Baker said he decided to run for school board after the last failed bond election in 2008. The district put forward a bond that would have paid to build a multiple use commons area, gymnasium, school entrance and additional classrooms.

A majority of voters said yes but the issue fell short of the 57.1 percent super-majority it needed to pass.

“I spent a lot of time talking with the teachers and administrators of Sarcoxie, Seneca, Billings, Joplin, Carthage, and I’ve kind of got an idea of what we’re missing here,” Baker said. “We’ve got to pay a little more attention to the no vote, we’ve got to see what they want. We’ve also got to make sure the numbers are correct because our last bond was a little bit of a stretch on what we have, what we were going to receive versus what we were going to pay out.”

Carol Corle said she doesn’t come to the election with any preconceived notions about the school or community.

“I’m not from here, I think I have a different perspective than a lot of you have,” Corle said. “I want to be a voice for our children because they don’t have one. I would like to be a voice for the elementary school that sometimes, I feel, gets passed over. I’ve owned my own business before, I’m self-employed now. I’ve owned a couple of businesses before and sold them so I do know a little bit about finance.”

Joe Heger said he wants to learn exactly what happens on the board of education and contribute to making the district better.

“Some people ask why I’m doing this if my kids are about to graduate and I think that’s where we go wrong,” Heger said. “This shouldn’t be about my kids, this shouldn’t be about Carol’s kids, this should be about all of our kids, to do the best that we can for them, for this school district, for the teachers and staff. This shouldn’t be for anyone’s personal gain. So many times I hear that John, Jake and Sue got on the school board and they’re doing such and such for their kids. That’s not what it’s about and I guarantee you that you’ll never be able to say Heger is just doing this because he wants something for his family or his child.”