Early Voting Underway in School Board Election

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Early voting for the upcoming school election got underway yesterday, Tuesday, Sept. 8, at the county clerk's office. Early voting for the Tuesday, Sept. 15, election will continue during regular business hours until noon on Monday, Sept. 14. The only local contested race is for a five-year seat on the Piggott School Board, as Katie Lipsey and Jennifer Rahn have both filed for the seat being vacated by Neil Morgan, who chose not to seek re-election. Piggott patrons are also being asked to extend the current millage rate.

The school board race in Rector is not contested, as incumbent Kirk Ford is unopposed for another term.

Earlier this year the Piggott School Board voted to ask patrons to extend the current millage rate. The board made the request in light of various construction and repair needs, including roofs at both campuses and extensive HVAC repair and replacement.

Administration officials noted the vote would not mean any new, or additional, taxes for patrons--only an extension of the current millage rate.

Additional information on the millage extension, and how it would impact property owners in the Piggott District, is available on the school district's website at www.piggottschools.net

Piggott patrons will be casting their ballots at the community center on Tuesday, Sept. 15, as it will be the only polling location. In Rector, only early and absentee ballots will be counted as there is no opposition.

Jennifer Rahn is a candidate for the Piggott Schools Board of Education for a five year term, subject to the Sept. 15, school election. Last year she ran in a three-candidate field, and lost by a narrow margin to Chris Roberts in the run-off. Rahn, and her husband Joey, live in Piggott with their three children--Mason, Madison "Sassy" and Morgan. Mason is a 2014 graduate of Piggott High School, Sassy is in the eighth grade and Morgan is a fourth grader at PES. She graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with academic distinction, earning a Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Arts degree in education. She has worked in the field of education for 19 years and as a certified teacher for 17, the past 15 employed at the Holcomb School District.

"First and foremost, I am invested in and committed to the Piggott School District through my children, their friends, all the children I have coached, the faculty and the staff," she said of her qualifications pertinent to the job. "Throughout the many years of being a Mohawk mom, I have come to know and love many of our students. Their education and well-being is very important to me. My children have had great teachers throughout the years, and I am committed to their best interests as well. I also believe my background and experience in education could be an asset to the Piggott School Board. I have an in-depth knowledge of how a school operates on a daily basis, expectations and needs of faculty, staff and students, school law, budgets and regulations set forth by the state."

In looking ahead to the biggest challenges facing the district in the coming five years she noted," school districts are faced with a host of issues throughout the years and I think in the next five years the Piggott School District will be facing issues with hiring and retaining quality teachers and staff members, as well as enrollment numbers. Many educators all over the country are changing their career paths due to the ever changing state standards, state assessment requirements and teacher evaluations. Change is a good thing, but not when it takes the teacher away from teaching our children so they can be successful in life."

Rahn also noted the lack of jobs in the Piggott area will continue to play a role in acquiring and retaining quality teachers. She noted the lack of employment opportunities will affect enrollment, adding the decrease would also mean less funding from the state--although the needs of the district will remain. "Our school board has no control over most of these issues, but yet they will have to face them and make decision while keeping the student's best interest at mind," she added.

In making her case for why she is the best candidate for the job Rahn notes, "because of my strong character traits, and reasons for running. In my opinion, I'm easy to talk with and I respect everyone's opinions and ideas. I have always had a good work ethic, and I take pride in the fact I stand strong for what I think is right and fair for all involved based upon facts, and not just personal beliefs. If an issue arises I'm not familiar with, I will work hard to educate myself before making any decisions. I decided to run for the Piggott School Board because I love and support our school district and community. The only personal interest I have in running for this position is that I will have the opportunity to do all that I possibly can to provide endless support to our faculty and staff--and be a part of providing the best learning environment for all our students."

Early voting is currently underway at the county clerk's office, and the polls will be open on Tuesday, Sept. 15, at the community center.

Katie Lipsey is a candidate for a five year term on the Piggott Schools Board of Education, subject to the upcoming Sept. 15, school election. Lipsey is a lifelong Piggott resident, and the daughter of Kevin Latimer and Mona Murray. She is the oldest of three PHS grads in the family, and is married to another local native, Travis Lipsey. Their son, Will, is a second grader at Piggott Elementary.

"I started working in banking right out of high school here in Piggott," she said of her qualifications for the job. "I worked there for 11 years, and currently I work right here in town at Holcomb's Pharmacy. In the 16 years of working for the public here in my home town I have gotten to experience what it is like to hear people's concerns and work with them to see3 what can be done to correct it. And, my husband and I run a small farming operation, so I'm not a stranger to budgets, time management, insurance policies and decision making."

In looking ahead to the biggest challenge facing the local district in the five years of her term she notes, "personally I feel like Common Core is a challenge we need to face. I would like to see us work together to see about getting tools to implement the helping of teachers, students and parents with it--or see what we can do as a district to remove Common Core all together."

Lipsey also noted there were other challenges, including making sure seniors are getting enough core closes, and the decline in enrollment. She also points to the issue of low retention rate among teachers as a future problem.

When asked to make her best case for why she is the better candidate for the job she adds, "Piggott has always been my home. I have never been anything else other than a Mohawk. I also have a passion for our school kids and faculty, and working here in Piggott I will be available if a problem occurs during the day. I am also persistent, and I have no problem standing up and speaking out. My son, nephews and your kids are our future. I want to help make this a place they want to come back home to. They are my reasons."

"As far as qualifications, I don't have a fancy degree, or serve on a lot of boards--plain and simple I am a mom, I am here at home and I love our community," she surmised. "I want what's best for our kids and teachers, I have a voice, and I will be yours if elected to the school board on Sept. 15. I would appreciate your vote."

Early voting is currently underway at the county clerk's office, and the polls will be open on Tuesday, Sept. 15, at the community center.

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