In a time when drops in state funding are resulting in budget cuts in school districts across the state, North Callaway R-I Schools are moving forward at an even keel.
Incumbent school board candidate Dennis Zerr and opponents Scott Starkey and Curt Warfield Jr. - who are running for two open three-year seats - all said keeping the district on that steady path is one of their main goals for the next few years.
Zerr, a full-time farmer who is finishing his third term with the board, said he decided to run for another because "I just wanted to offer my services and my experience to support the school district."
He said another reason is that he wants to continue to have two Williamsburg residents on the board so his section of the district is properly represented.
As for many school districts in Missouri, Zerr said finances are a main concern for North Callaway at this time.
"With the state unable to fully fund the formula ... that puts a pretty big crunch on us," Zerr said. "We have to keep looking into the future."
Scott Starkey, a full-time farmer, said he decided to run for the school board because Zerr asked him to. With his experience serving on the facility committee several years ago and his service on the cooperative board in New Florence, Starkey said he felt he would be a good match for the school board.
"I know most of the people on the board and I think the superintendent is good to work with," he said of his ability to fit into the board.
Starkey said he does not have a particular agenda in wanting to join the school board.
"I think the board's doing a good job right now - we're in better shape than a lot of districts," Starkey said. "I just want to see us stay on the right track."
He said he also would like to make sure the board "follows through on the facilities committee recommendations."
With his son Lance to start high school next year and his daughter Clare to be in middle school, Starkey said he wants the opportunity to get involved with leading the district.
"I just want to see them have a good school," Starkey said.
Curt Warfield Jr. gave a similar reason for his decision to run for the school board.
"I have my kids (daughter Kaitlyn and sons Cole and Trey) in the district and I'm concerned about their education," Warfield said. "I just thought it was something good I could do to do my part."
City Manager of the Village of Kingdom City, Warfield shared his opponents' assessment of the district, as well as Zerr's concerns about finances.
"It's kind of a quiet period, (but) with how tight times are we need to make sure we keep a proper budget and are making sure we're creating a good environment for students and staff," Warfield said. "We need to make sure the money is being appropriated correctly ... so everybody has a fair shot, with the main focus on the students first.
"I want to make sure we make the right decisions going forward."
He said another concern is "making sure the school district is represented in its entirety with no bias."