New board members ready to get started

Chris Bowie
A voter provides identification June 2, 2020 for the municipal election at the Boonville Ward 2 voting location at Nelson Memorial United Methodist Church. Turnout at this location was fairly low.

The low voter turnout during the municipal elections on Tuesday did little to deter the enthusiasm by the new school board members at Pilot Grove, Bunceton and Prairie Home.

Although there are a total of 11,408 registered voters in the county, only 1,176 ballots were cast Tuesday night during the elections, which means the county had a 15.04 percent voter turnout.

In the race for Prairie Home R-V School Board, Tammy Brandes and Marsha Stewart returned to the board after serving three and 12 years, respectively. Brandes won a position on the board with 128 votes, followed by Nathan Alpers with 119 and Stewart with 115. Sheila Brown picked up 79 votes while Ryan Lock had 52 votes as a write-in.

Voters cast their ballots for the people they thought would do a good job for the community, school and the students, Brandes said.

“I want to continue to do what I have been doing the last three years,” she said. “I want to serve the students and school, and take in perspective what the community needs as well.”

The first thing Alpers wanted to do was thank everybody that came out and voted for the school board and supported him.

“I’m excited to serve the school district,” Alpers said. “I just want to be the best board member that I can be for the school and help the district continue to go forward.”

Of course Stewart is no stranger to the district. Beginning her 13th year, Stewart said it’s always nice to be able to secure an opportunity to move forward and continue in the district.

The district will have a new superintendent coming on and Stewart feels she will have some insight that will help with the transition having served on the board for so long.

“As far as our district goals are concerned, we are going to need to deal with the pandemic and, of course, the [withholding] in small school funding is going to be something we are going to have to look at,” she said. “We did give raises to our faculty and staff this year and we are thrilled to be able to do so.

The distric also did maintenance on school buidlings. While the district has a sturdy budget, the board will have to look at all the withholdings that will affect the distrct.

"[We need to] move smartly and carefully and make good choices for what we see ahead,“ Stewart said.

The Pilot Grove C-4 School District will welcome Mike Fahrendorf, Terry W. Schupp and Chris Streck to the board. Schupp accumulated 178 votes, followed by Fahrendorf with 176, Streck 146 and Bradley Wayne Vollmer 80. There also was three write-in votes.

Schupp and Streck could not be reached for comment on their selection to the board. Fahrendorf said he was pleased.

“For me, I am looking to continue some of the work that we started while focusing on improving the education in the district and also continuing to find quality teachers,” Fahrendorf said. “As a small school district, we tend to get the kids less experienced teachers, who are starting out their careers, and then a lot of times they move on.”

Despite the turnover, the district still workes toward providing quality eduction, he said.

“Even though we are a small rural district. I look forward to continuing to support our district and making sure we continue that,” Fahrendorf said.

The Cooper County R-IV School District filled three spots in Bunceton. Timothy Brandes received 72 votes in a widely contested race, followed by Elisabeth Dick with 69 votes, Robin Saylor with 65, Aletha Hein 63 and Asa Bradford-Sturguess 38. There was also one write-in vote.

Brandes said he is excited to move forward with the school.

“They’ll install us and then we will go to work and make sure the school prospers,” Brandes said.

Elisabeth Dick said she will do the best she can.

“I’m glad I had so many people supporting me,” Dick said. “Generally, when I go into a new position, I like to get the lay of the land. I want to make sure the kids are being taken care of since I have been on the other side as well as a teacher.”

Saylor is definitely excited about the opportunity to serve.

“I was nervous going into it because I’m not originally from Bunceton,” she said. “I’m really glad that the people in the town thought that I was fit for the board. It’s been a great two years at Bunceton and I’m excited to be more involved in the community.”

Saylor’s next step is to dive in and learn about lot issues affecting the district and any district projects. She wants to get a feel for everything and then move forward with whatever steps need to be taken.

“I haven’t been super involved in it up until this point, but I feel like now that I am on the board I will be able to learn and take a look at everything,” she said.