For the first time, Columbia County voters can elect the chairman of the school board - a post previously was filled internally by a board vote.
Three candidates are seeking the job: Regina Buccafusco, Lawrence Hammond and Lee Muns.
With Columbia County School Superintendent Tommy Price set to retire at the end of the current school year, now is the time for stability, not change, Buccafusco said.
"I think that experience counts very much, particularly in a year when we have a new superintendent coming on," said the two-term board member.
At a time when the board appointed its own chairman, Buccafusco served in that role for a year.
During that time, she said she organized a weekend retreat for board members, held quarterly public forums and set a system to match grants received by schools.
If voters put her in the office again, Buccafusco plans to re-establish those policies.
In his former term on the school board, Muns was a strong advocate of technical education and he said he'll continue to be again if the voters elect him.
Muns said he hopes to improve relations with the business community and enlist their support of the county's vocational courses.
"Corporations will go the extra mile when they feel good about going the extra mile," he said.
Muns also wants to improve relations between administrators and parents through staff development programs to make principals more effective communicators.
Hammond said that as an accountant and owner of a real-estate appraisal company, his expertise with data analysis and property purchases gives him a leg up on other candidates for the chairmanship.
Also, Hammond said his years of experience in the food and services industry also qualifies him to suggest ways of improving vocational education in the school system.
A priority for him, he said, will be to refocus the curriculum for technical education classes to incorporate more practical work experience.
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