Fox C-6 School District will have three new members on its Board of Education following the April 4 election. Board members Krystal Hargis, Vicki Hanson and Michelle Chamberlain are not seeking re-election.
Curtiss Frazier, Judy Smith, Travis Lintner, Jim Osia and Michael Myers are each running for the three open two-year terms.
Michael Myers did not return a Leader candidate questionnaire.
School board members are unpaid.
FRAZIER, 40, lives in Arnold with his wife, Heather. They have three children. Frazier is a transmission engineer for Ameren. He has a degree in electrical engineering from Missouri S&T.
SMITH, 64, lives in Fenton with her husband, Steve. They have three children and three grandchildren. Smith was a teacher at Sherwood Elementary for 26 years, during which time she served on many committees including curriculum, report cards, fundraising and safety/security. She is currently teaching English/Language Arts education as an adjunct professor at University of Missouri-St. Louis and Missouri Baptist University. She received a master’s degree in education at Lindenwood University, a bachelor’s in elementary education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and an ESL certification from Southeast Missouri State University.
LINTNER, 38, lives in Arnold with his wife, Melissa. They have two children. Lintner is a custom quoting consultant and engineer for G Lighting. Lintner has a degree in computer-aided drafting and design from ITT Technical Institute.
OSIA, 48, lives in Arnold with his wife, Gina. They have a daughter. Osia works in quality control at True Manufacturing. He has attended St. Louis Community College.
What experience do you have (elected office, civic organizations, volunteer work, etc.) that might serve you well in this position?
Frazier: For more than two years, I have been a volunteer on the district finance advisory committee. My family has been involved with school parents club for three years. I’ve been a licensed foster parent for six years.
Smith: I have been president of the Arnold Rotary Club, a community service organization, from 2022-2023. I am a member of the C-6 Education Foundation, which provides grants to classroom teachers; Brenden’s Friday Backpack; Vision 3:16/Focus on Missions, which provides free international and inner-city eyeglass clinics and glasses to those in need; FBCA Homebound as a meal deliverer; the Salvation Army bell ringing assistant coordinator for Jefferson County; and Food for Vets as a distributor.
Lintner: I have been an avid attendee at board meetings for the past three years. Volunteer efforts have varied through flood relief, tornado damage clean-up, assistant coaching of soccer and football, Scouting for Food, Stream Team cleanup and bell ringing for the Salvation Army. I am a lifetime member of the community and parent with children in the district. This is my third year running and each year has proven to be more educational.
Osia: I have been a member of the University of Missouri Extension Council, since 2019 and served as the chair since 2022. I am a member of the Arnold Rotary Club, Jefferson County Republican Club, Brenden’s Friday Backpacks at Seckman high and middle schools and Simpson Elementary PTO’s WatchD.O.G.S.
What are the biggest problems facing the district and how would you address them?
Frazier: District finances and student achievement. Costs continue to rise for the district and the funding mechanisms for these costs do not keep up. We need to find innovative ways to reduce costs, provide better compensation to retain staff and keep programs that provide value to students. We have to gain public trust that funds are being spent prudently. We need to provide the right resources to address the learning shortfall that has happened over the last few years to allow students to catch up. Keeping quality staff and positive relationships can support this.
Smith: One struggle districts have is the learning loss of their students due to Covid. Fox has maintained low class size to help overcome this learning loss and be able to meet the educational needs of the students. Low class size has met those needs and academic increases are evident in test score results recently released. Due to financial constraints, class size may need to be adjusted. Building renovations and upkeep are always present. As a board member, we need to work to create a comprehensive plan to proactively maintain our buildings and grounds.
Lintner: We must make sure the staff feels our support and that the community is heard. That is a challenge since not everyone shares the same perspective. We cannot ignore our financial situation. Letting our district lose its accreditation as recognized by the state will make us guilty of a huge disservice to our children and their potential future options. Difficult decisions will have to be made in the foreseeable future on cost and revenues. If the children remain our moral compass in navigating these decisions, then together as a community I believe we will reach the best solutions.
Osia: Finances: I think that we need to look at the value we are getting for dollars spent. Are we spending in the right spots? Student achievement/mental health: We need to look deeper into the learning loss that happened during the pandemic and think outside the box on helping get our students back to or better than before. While also understanding their mental health as well through this. Curriculum: Having the same curriculum at each building. Curriculum that is true to fundamentals and is correct in what is taught. Employee retention: Fair wages.
Why should voters elect you to this position? List your goals, if elected.
Frazier: As a parent in the district, I want to bridge the gap that has developed between the community and school board. I do not have an education background, but I want to use my experience as an engineer to develop innovative ways to provide possible solutions to the challenges we face. I’d like to use my experience managing projects and costs to help the district become more efficient. We have to work on restoring trust between parents and the district if we are going to make positive strides to move forward together.
Smith: I am running for the school board to bring basics back to our classrooms: reading, writing, math, science and history. Curriculum consistency throughout the district is also a top goal. Our district needs a voice in making the curriculum decisions these next three years that promote excellence in academics, family values and patriotism. A school board needs different kinds of people and voices, but it also needs people who know what it takes to teach children in a classroom. I will work to achieve high academic standards and help to find ways to responsibly strengthen our finances.
Lintner: I believe that I am a fair and honest representation of the community. Fox C-6 invested into my life growing up as well as my own children in recent years. When it comes to decision making, I am committed to do my best to make responsible decisions and to weigh the impact those decisions may have on everyone involved. My main goal is to rally more community support and trust around our district. Many alumni have graduated to return, and I am one of them as a voice of the community with a love for our district.
Osia: I have been on the University of Missouri Extension Council here in Jefferson County for four years. This last year as the chair. This council oversees educational programs for both kids and adults. We also receive taxpayer money from the county and have been diligent in how we spend the taxpayers’ money. With this experience, I not only bring knowledge on how a board works but how to successfully manage taxpayer dollars. My goals are to streamline spending, educate our kids for the future, help our kids’ mental health and to make this district respectable again.
What should local school boards do in response to state officials’ actions to oversee school curriculum?
Frazier: Boards need to maintain communication and provide feedback to state officials about the direction they are pursuing. We need to make sure that efforts are being put in place that strengthen the relationship with parents and students in the district. Policies should not draw a divide but help drive parents to be involved in the education of their children. It takes both educators and parents to achieve the best success for students. We need to make sure the focus of curriculum stays education based and does not move off track.
Smith: School curriculum should be guided by the local district and school board to meet their community’s educational needs. Contacting and meeting with state officials will assist in guiding these decisions. Making the community aware of these type of situations and providing information for the community to respond to state officials also would be proactive.
Lintner: School boards should ensure that there is nothing in their curriculum that would compel the state to get involved. Education by definition is indoctrination; the question is what should we be teaching? This is a serious question that boards should ponder as more people turn to other outlets than public education and school choice is on the horizon. I would prefer local control. The reality is there are national entities and organizations working hard to influence curriculum, so it is not surprising to see them get involved. With their revitalized interest, they should fully fund the Foundation Formula as well.
Osia: I think that this should be done at the local level with input from the state, not a directive from the state. Each district has several different socioeconomics that a one-size-fits-all approach may not be the best way to go. Within our own district we have different levels of socioeconomics. We know our community better than anyone, we live here. My question to the state is, Will there be additional funds to help with implementation?
District officials have proposed placing a property tax increase on the August ballot. Would you support that ballot issue? Why or why not?
Frazier: It is not a matter of if, but a question of when. A tax increase is needed for the long-range operation of the district. The funding mechanisms in place do not allow the district to keep up with rising costs. I do believe that the district needs to earn community trust and prove that finances are being used correctly prior to going to the community for a tax bill. I believe this can be relayed through better transparency, educating the community and cutting some costs.
Smith: While on the school board, I was involved in Prop P, a no tax increase project that funds several large additions and renovations. The goal of the board at that time was to pass and fulfill those obligations successfully to bring trust to the community. I do believe the board has accomplished that goal and is ready to look to future funding solutions. Nineteen years have gone by with no tax initiative. The school board must work together with the administration to make cuts and work with the community to plan for future proposition/tax initiatives that will provide quality schools.
Lintner: As a Board candidate, yes, I do support the proposal of a tax increase to ensure that we are operating within the financial standards set forth by board and state policy. It is true there has been irresponsible spending by the district over the years. There are other contributing factors that have brought us here though. The board has negated this ask due to political expedience and fear of community perception given our district’s history. It is time to move on and give a new board and superintendent the chance to do what is right for our district’s future.
Osia: I will support a tax levy that is fair to both the taxpayer as well as the district. With costs going up, eventually our tax levy will need to go up. The reality is that despite the past, we need to keep moving forward. Keep this in mind, which will be the bigger hit, the tax increase on your tax bill or the overall home value? I will put the question on the ballot no matter what. This is ultimately up to the taxpayers. I will oversee your money with watchful eyes.