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Columbia school board candidate interview: Chuck Basye

ABC 17 News is interviewing each of the seven candidates running for three open spots on the Columbia Board of Education. At least two of them will be new members -- only one incumbent is in the race.

One of the seven is a former Republican state legislator who has had plenty of disagreements with the district -- Chuck Basye.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE: Chuck Basye's eight days before election report

MEGHAN DRAKAS: Tell us a little bit about yourself and the platform that you're running on.

CHUCK BASYE: Well, I'm retired from the Federal Aviation Administration. And, of course, I'm retired from the state as well, being a legislator for eight years. But I'm back in the federal workforce for Congressman (Blaine) Luetkemeyer right now. So I started with that in January and I'm enjoying it very much.

DRAKAS: And school safety is obviously a top priority, especially after six people were killed at a school in Tennessee today. What are your thoughts on the safety of students and professionals at Columbia Public Schools? And would you like to see any changes being made?

BASYE: Well, I think that we can always do more. Our children are our future. And what happened today is a tragedy as always, and again, same pattern. It's a mentally unstable person appears to be and but we could do more here in the Columbia area, and certainly statewide.

I think we should arm volunteer teachers and staff members. There's a bill moving through the House of Representatives right now. Matter of fact, it's in the Senate -- House Bill 70. And it was supported by Democrats, including the minority leader, and other Democrats in the House. It's a bipartisan bill to allow school districts to expand if they choose more and more staff, teachers, administrators with proper credentials, concealed carry permits and other training to hopefully, if that would happen on one of our schools, they could take action before the police get there and hopefully take that perpetrator out.

DRAKAS: Teacher pay is obviously a big topic for schools, Missouri teachers are some of the lowest paid in the country. How can the district afford to pay teachers more than those raises?

BASYE: Well, pay is always a problem no matter what profession you're looking at. And that is what we've been hearing for quite a while teacher pay is inadequate. But if you look at two surveys recently that the NEA and the MSTA put out, that's not the top concerns that teachers are complaining about right now.

Discipline in the classroom is lacking. And also, that's the No. 1 problem they can complain about is a lack of discipline in the schools. And then right behind that is the no support from administrators and school boards. So but pay is in there, but it's not the top thing that teachers are concerned about right now. So we need to do a better job listening to teachers and school staff and make improvements in that area.

DRAKAS: And if elected, what are some current issues with CPS that you would like to tackle?

BASYE: First and foremost, our academic performance is lacking and has been going down for more than a decade. And COVID is being blamed. And that's certainly a factor. But the latest report that came out from DESE (the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) just highlights the problems in Colombia.

We're right on the borderline of being unaccredited, which was unheard of 10, 15 years ago. And we need to do a much better job. And the most glaring issue with that report is the performance of our lower-income students. So it's horrific. I hate to use that strong language. But we have got to do a better job educating our children before we send them out into the world. We're not giving them a foundation in which they can build on by not giving them a proper education.

DRAKAS: Is there anything else that you would like to touch on?

BASYE: Accountability and transparency is lacking -- has been for a while. ... But we need to have a different perspective on that board. One that's been lacking for quite a while. And we need to get back to traditional basic education and get away from a lot of this woke stuff that's going on in the school system right now.

Article Topic Follows: Your Voice Your Vote

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