SIKESTON -- Addressing older buildings and improving literacy rates are among the biggest challenges facing the Sikeston R-6 School District, according to candidates running in Tuesday's school board race.
When they step up to the polls, Sikeston R-6 voters will choose two of the following three candidates for service on the school board: Paul H. Boyd, Scott Crumpecker and Mary White-Ross. Incumbents Boyd and White-Ross were first elected to the Board in 2004.
Boyd, 43, worked as an officer, detective, sergeant and lieutenant for the Sikeston Department of Public Safety from 1986 to 1995, when he began working as a senior United States probation officer for the Eastern District of Missouri. Boyd is finishing course work for a Master of Public Administration.
Boyd said the biggest challenge facing the R-6 district is how to improve the reading ability of students while maintaining an effective level of services in other areas.
Boyd, who currently serves as the board's vice president, said his regular attendance at board meetings on the local, state and national levels is among the experience he brings to the board.
"During my service on the Board of Education, I actively participated in the lengthy process to develop and promote the bond issue resulting in the construction of our new Math and Science Building, the restructuring of our grade levels and buildings, and the reorganization of our food service program," Boyd said.
Boyd lives in Sikeston with his wife, Detricia "Dee Dee," and their two elementary-aged children.
A graduate of Sikeston Public Schools, Crumpecker earned a Bachelor of Science in agriculture from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is employed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service, where he writes and administers grants for agriculture, conservation and natural resource projects.
"In conjunction with my job, I deal with budgets and work plans on a frequent basis. I am able to interact effectively with a group having a common goal in mind. I deal with financial affairs on my family farming operation," Crumpecker said about his experience.
Crumpecker said structural conditions at several buildings in the district need to be addressed by the Board.
"As technology advances, the school must follow the trend in order to prepare our graduates for the work force," Crumpecker said.
Crumpecker, 42, lives with his wife, Becky, and their two elementary-aged children, on a farm outside his hometown of Morehouse.
White-Ross has been employed with the city of Sikeston for 17 years, working as municipal court clerk. Recently, she started working part-time at Wal-Mart.
"As a board member running for re-election, I see the biggest challenge facing our district as our old elementary school buildings and our buildings on our Senior High campus. What to do? Remodel or construct new buildings? This challenge must be addressed by our current and/or future board of education members," White-Ross said.
A member of Cornerstone Baptist Church, White-Ross' memberships also include being a charter member of Daughters of Sunset, a founding member of Mission Missouri and a founding board member of YMCA of Southeast Missouri.
White-Ross said her many years of community service prove beneficial to her service on the school board.
"To me, the ultimate triumph of community service is serving on the Board of Education," White-Ross said. "As board members, we implement board policy. We do not micromanage our superintendent nor our school staff.
She continued: "In my opinion, the only experience needed to be on the board is to be available for service, willing to work as a team with six other board members whose goals are to provide the best education for our children in our R-6 school district."
White-Ross lives with her husband, Robert, in Sikeston. She has four children and six grandchildren.
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.