Three candidates on school board ballot April 2


  Two incumbents and one challenger will be vying for positions on the Warsaw R-IX school board in the April 2 election. Current school board members Mike Mais and Carolyn Fisher will be challenged for a spot by Adam Arnett in the April school board election.

  Carolyn Fisher, previous Warsaw R-IX district teacher, has been on the school board for four years now. Fisher is currently employed as the manager of the Home Medical Equipment Division at J&D Pharmacy Home Medical Equipment. She joined the board in 2015 after the resignation of Michelle McLerran-Kreisler. She earned a full term on the board in the 2016 election. Fisher believes she can give back to the district in a different way.

  “I have always held our district in high esteem and was fortunate to be a part of the district for 28 years as a teacher,” Fisher said. “I know what our district was like when I taught and the pride everyone felt in our district. I am eager for those feelings to return and I believe we are on our way.”

  Fisher describes her experience on the board thus far to be exciting. She was on the board when superintendent Dr. Shawn Poyser was hired, and since his joining the district, she believes the school has gotten back to a place in which everyone can hold his/her head high again. She also believes that the board has been doing a good job of hiring good fits and watching spending.

  Fisher is also in support of the $6 million no-tax-increase bond (Proposition S) to pay off leases and repair and update facilities in the district.

  “I believe my years as a teacher give me a good insight into the workings of the district and I simply want only the best for the district, for the students, for the staff and for our stakeholders,” Fisher said. “Right now the biggest issue in the district is spending wisely. Hopefully, our stakeholders feel the same way and will listen to information on Prop S.”

  Since joining the board, Fisher has had to help make some hard decisions based on the dropped enrollment rates and the resulting decrease in money from the state. These decisions included closing Ruth Mercer Elementary to save $300,000 a year, as well as approving Proposition S for the April 2 ballot.

  “I think in order to provide a safe and secure environment for our students and staff and make the needed improvements to our existing buildings, Prop S will be a good thing. We met to prioritize needs as a board and made those recommendations,” Fisher said. “Ruth Mercer was so much more than a name on a building. Her memories are something we can all share with smiles, sometimes chuckles and a feeling of love. We will find ways to honor my friend Ruth Mercer.”

  For the election, Fisher will be advertising her campaign through mediums such as the newspaper and social media.

  “I would appreciate your votes and your close attention to the facts of Prop S,” Fisher said. “I am always available to answer any questions anyone might have.”

  Mike Mais has been on the school board for nine years now, and spent several of them as board president. Mais returned to serve after the resignation of Denise Hinkle last year. Mais originally ran because he saw being a part of the board to be a civic obligation.

  “It’s the right thing to do for me and my family, to offer my assistance to the board,” Mais said.

   Mais’ experience on the board has been very rewarding. He believes that this opportunity has given him a new look at how things are actually done versus how the general public perceived the board’s operation.

  “Too many people think that a board member can make a decision as an individual, and can make anything happen. That’s not true. We operate as a board and, at the end of the day, however the board decides, that’s the decision you have to work with,” Mais said.
  Although Mais was not born and raised in Warsaw, he has been a part of the community for 35 years now. He has been an employee at Walmart for 39 years and is currently a fresh operations manager where he oversees 34 stores in southwest Missouri, including the one in Warsaw.

  Mais’ value for education can also be found in the success of his children. His youngest daughter is a junior at Missouri State, while his son is an engineer and another daughter is an accountant for Cox Medical. His oldest daughter is a learning disabilities instructor at Republic middle school.

  “It’s important to see the education of students continuing to improve,” Mais said.

  Mais, along with the rest of the school board, has helped Warsaw R-IX adopt numerous plans to help the current financial crisis. One of these plans is the Governance plan. Mais also voted on matters such as the closing of Ruth Mercer and Proposition S.

  “The board adopted the governance plan last summer and it is the first time we’ve done this as a board. It actually has a lot of checks and balances in place and there haven’t been in the past. I’m so excited to see the changes around the governance plan as it’s being more established and followed by the administration,” Mais said. “There are a lot of things that can be corrected through this, whether it’s coalescing us between the buildings. We had three elementaries last year, this next year we’re going to two. Seeing this be done on a daily basis is really rewarding because it’s nice to see that everyone is working together for the same outcome for the students.”

  Similar to Fisher, Mais fully supports proposition S.

  “I hope it will be a good situation. It will help us eliminate some of the financial woes we’ve had in the past because we are basically leasing some items, such as buses and roofs.” Mais said. “If we get these passed, we can pay those off and focus on other upgrades in the district. My wife and I will be voting for it. I do hope it passes because it’s really needed to help our situation.”

  Mais will be advertising through signs and ads, and plans to promote himself through friends, family, and the local community.

  Adam Arnett is a first-time school board candidate and will be challenging the two incumbents for one of the spots. Arnett’s tie to the Warsaw R-IX district can be found in his wife and two daughters. His youngest daughter is in fifth grade at R-IX South and she is part of the student council, as well as in sports. His oldest daughter plays on the seventh grade basketball and volleyball teams, and his wife is a part of the PTO at South school. Arnett makes sure that he remains involved in all of their activities.

  “I decided to run because both of my daughters are in the Warsaw school district,” Arnett said. Arnett attended the district from preschool through graduation. “It has been something I wanted to do for quite some time.”

  “I’m qualified to run for school board because I’ve been a citizen of Benton County for 36 years, and I’ve been in numerous roles in my work involving leadership and supervision. Regarding my work, I’ve sat on many committees regarding building expansions, equipment purchases, upgrades to equipment, schedule changes, and both adding and cutting back work force,” Arnett said.

  Arnett is employed in Clinton at TC Capri as a printing press operator, and has found that the qualities preparing him for the board are rooted in the various roles he has filled while working there.

  Similar to the two incumbents, Arnett finds Proposition S to be a very good idea for the future of the district and for the safety of the students.

  “We need to upgrade the fire alarms, fix the security of the doors, and we need a good and comfortable environment for not only our students, but also the faculty which works there,” Arnett said.

  When it comes to Ruth Mercer’s closing, Arnett believes it will have a 50/50 positive and negative impact on the students and community.

  “The ones who had close ties to the school and Ruth Mercer will experience the closing as a negative thing,” Arnett said. “The ones who see a positive to it, as far as the reason behind closing it and the changes they’ve made, I will say that they will continue to support it.”

  Arnett believes that the biggest issue for the school is the drop in enrollment, which continues to decline.

  “The biggest issue is the number of students we’re losing every year. It seems like our numbers continue to go down and I see that being a problem for the future of the Warsaw school district. We have to find a way for the Warsaw school district as a whole to be more appealing to younger families with children,” Arnett said. “Also, if those younger families with children are living within such a district, we need to find a way for them to feel comfortable sending their kids to school here.”

  Arnett plans to advertise through social media, newspapers, and word of mouth.

  “I’ve been a Warsaw Wildcat, my parents were as well,” Arnett said. “I went to Warsaw High School and my children do, too. I hope that my future grandchildren get to as well.”