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Candidates for CPS board of education participate in forum

Three candidates for the Columbia Public School board participated in a forum Thursday night.

The Columbia Missouri National Education Association hosted the forum at Mary Paxton Keeley Elementary school.

The candidates who participated were Jay Atkins, Della Streaty-Wilhoit, and Blake Willoughby. The three candidates are all seeking their first term on the school board.

One of the topics discussed was teacher pay. Streaty-Wilhoit said she believes teachers need to be paid more so that teachers won’t leave for better jobs. She also said working with the universities could help improve teacher recruitment.

Atkins agreed, saying we need to find a way to pay teachers more and promised to pursue that if elected. He also said it is important to create an environment for teachers to love their jobs and avoid micromanaging teachers’ classrooms.

Willoughby said he wants to see teacher pay rise to the national average, not just the state average. He also said the district needs to work with Jefferson City to improve pay.

Voters will decide who will fill the two open seats on the board in the April election. Each seat is a three-year term.

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