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Three to compete for two SPS board seats

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Three candidates are slated to compete for two Springfield Public Schools Board of Education seats this spring.

Incumbents Alina Lehnert and Charles Taylor are seeking re-election, with a challenge from Shurita Thomas-Tate. The April 2 ballot also has two write-in spots for voters in the county, according to a news release.

The certified list of candidates was submitted on Jan. 17 to the Greene County clerk’s office. The seats are for three-year terms.

In alphabetical order, below are the candidates’ occupations:
    •    Lehnert, owner of Lehnert Leadership Group LLC;
    •    Taylor, professor of communication and director of the master’s in communication program at Drury University; and
    •    Thomas-Tate, associate professor of communication sciences and disorders at Missouri State University.

The candidates could not be reached for comment by deadline.

The seven-member SPS board is currently led by Jill Patterson as president, Tim Rosenbury as vice president and Denise Fredrick, Gerry Lee, Bruce Renner, Lehnert and Taylor as members.

The last voter choice for the SPS Board of Education was on the ballot in 2016, when Lehnert and Taylor beat Allen Kunkel, Michelle Gavel and Melissa Penkalski. In 2017, only incumbents Rosenbury and Fredrick filed for the race and were automatically re-elected, according to Springfield Business Journal archives. Board member seats were not up for vote in 2018, according to the Greene County clerk’s office.

Also in April, voters will decide on Proposition S, the district’s $168 million bond request, which was recommended by the SPS Community Task Force. The request seeks an 18-cent increase to the debt-service levy to fund the first of three planned bond issuances for facility improvements.

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