Finances, transparency and independence were the main topics discussed by candidates at Jasper County School Board candidates debate Monday night.
Sitting board members Holly Farley and Vice President Gordon Millsap discussed topics with newcomers Mandy Rieman, Jed Earnest and Andy Pullen at Newton Community High School cafeteria. The candidates are vying for three open positions on the board.
In her opening statement, Farley acknowledged the financial trouble the district faces but said she wants to look forward to other opportunities for the students.
"Everyone seems to be focusing on current money and financial issues and that's understandable, but I believe as a school board member, you need to be interested in all parts of the job, not just financial," she said. "I feel that it's very important we change with the times and develop new curriculums that are new and different at all levels of education for our kids and give them the best education we can offer."
When asked what they would like to accomplish if elected, Pullen, who also ran for a seat on the board in a previous election, said he would hope to gain further information about the decisions the district is making.
"I think I would like to be that voice to ask a few questions before we vote," he said. "We've got to do these things, folks, that's all there is to it. You're going to have to ask questions. We're not all going to gather around the campfire and sing 'Kumbaya.' That's all over. We have no money. That money's going, folks, rapidly. Just look at districts around us and the teachers they're letting go. We're not really facing that pain."
Millsap said he hopes to remain on the board to continue moving the district forward.