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The Carthage Press
  • Forum offers candidates, voters chance to learn

  • Three out of five candidates for the three open seats on the Carthage Board of Education took advantage of a candidate forum on Tuesday to make their case as to why they deserve to serve on the board.
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  • Three out of five candidates for the three open seats on the Carthage Board of Education took advantage of a candidate forum on Tuesday to make their case as to why they deserve to serve on the board.
    Challenger Kent Hogan and incumbents Elizabeth Streich and Jeff Jones talked about why voters should choose them when they fill out their ballots on April 8.
    Hogan
    Hogan, the pastor at the Bible Baptist Church, said this was his fourth election running for the R-9 Board, and he said he wants to be involved in his community.
    He said he's lived in Carthage for 14 years and has three children, three step-children and 13 grandchildren.
    "Really I'm interested in three things as far as the school board," Hogan said. "I'm interested in the kids education, obviously. I'm interested in their environment and how they're taught and what they're taught. I believe every child ought to have a desk. I'm concerned about the economy as far as the budget is concerned, I'd like to go through the budget."
    Jones
    Jeff Jones is serving out his second three-year term on the board and said he's proud to be part of a team that's had a number of accomplishments.
    Jones said he and his wife both graduated from Carthage High School and he ran for the office once and lost before winning on his second try.
    "Whatever ideas you have coming in as a new school board member, your perspective changes because you have to work as a team to make things happen," Jones said. "I think academically, our district has improved greatly. We're not where we want to be right now, we're always striving to improve, but the community has really supported the district well and I've enjoyed being a part of that. I think we've told a good story for our community."
    Streich
    Elizabeth Streich is finishing her first three-year term and she said she feels like she has unfinished business on the board.
    Streich touted her 28 years of experience in education in jobs ranging from para-professional to secretary to director of community relations for a school district.
    "Students, parents, teachers and administrations and patrons need a knowledgeable and reliable educational leader and I feel that fits the bill for me," Streich said. "Rest assured whether it's district budget issues, student achievement, board policy, I will diligently serve the school board and its district stakeholders as a member of the Carthage Board of Education. We are working right now on a bond issue to pass for a new building and to repurpose another building. I'd like to see those projects to fruition."
    Challenger Jennifer Lambeth and incumbent Tony Diggs could not attend the forum due to conflicts with their jobs.
    Page 2 of 2 - Harris
    Mayor Mike Harris and the three people who have filed for the Carthage City Council election, Kirby Newport in Ward 1, Lee Carlson in Ward 4 and Jason T.A. Shelfer in Ward 5, face no opposition in the April 8 election.
    No one filed for the open seats in Wards 2 and 3. Brady Beckham was appointed in January to serve out a term left vacant when a council member had to move out of the city and he's expressed an interest in running as a write-in for that seat.
    Harris said he's proud of the city's accomplishments and progress in his four years as mayor, but he's concerned about the lack of people running for public office.
    "When there's controversy, a lot of people run for office," Harris said. "That's how I first got into office in 1995 with the debate over the airport. We need more people to serve in public office."
    School bond issue
    Carthage Chamber President Mark Elliff spoke about the other issue Carthage voters will see on the ballot — a proposal for an $18 million school bond that will not raise the current school district debt service levy.
    The bonds will be paid off by extending the current levy from 2026 to 2034.
    The money will go to build a new intermediate school for fourth and fifth grade students at the intersection of Fir and Chapel roads in the south part of town, and to add 10 classrooms, a new gymnasium and tornado saferoom and make other renovations to the current Carthage Middle School to make it the new school home for seventh and eighth graders.
    "The Carthage Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the Carthage R-9 schools," Elliff said. "We feel this is very important as an economic development issue, it's good for the community, it's good for our businesses and it's something that the school adminstration has done a great job at being able to put this together and send it to the people. We support it and on April 8 you will have your chance to vote, not only on the tax levy bond issue but also on all the candidates."

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