SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Four candidates are vying for two open positions on the Springfield school board.

The race is heating up as public school policies and curricula have become hot-button issues across the nation.

Chad Rollins, Judy Brunner, Landon McCarter and Shurita Thomas-Tate are all hoping to be elected, but only the two candidates with the most votes will win.

Ozarks First spoke with the candidates about some of their main goals.

“We can see that our test scores are decreasing and we’re having problems with teacher retention,” said candidate Chad Rollins. “I’d like to really focus on that.”

“Supporting educators,” said candidate Judy Brunner. “When I’m talking about educators, I’m talking about cooks, custodians, maintenance workers, teachers, counselors.”

“I believe that we are asking teachers to do too much,” said candidate Landon McCarter. “I feel like we’re asking them to be social workers, sometimes even police officers, in addition to what they’re doing to teach the curriculum.”

“Not every one of our students is going to be a math scholar or a college graduate,” said candidate Shurita Thomas-Tate. “But we want to prepare all of our students to do whatever is next in their life.”

The candidates also discussed how they plan to address school safety.

“I think we may need to look at having a security guard at every single school here in Springfield,” said Rollins.

“Have a balance between a school that still feels very welcoming and student-centered, with one that is secure,” said Brunner. 

“Without a safe school, you can’t have much learning going on,” said McCarter. “What we can do is vote Proposition S. I’m in favor of Proposition S myself.”

“Safety is more than just secure buildings, which is important,” said Thomas-Tate. “But also, making sure our student well-being is cared for.”

Ozarks First will continue to follow the race to bring you the latest.