Illustration by Meg Wagler.

On Tuesday, voters who live within the boundaries of the Springfield Public Schools district will decide which two candidates from a field of five will join the SPS Board of Education.

How to vote?

Polling locations open Tuesday, April 5, at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. To see where to cast your ballot, you can visit either the Greene County Clerk’s website or the Missouri Secretary of State website and enter your home address to find your polling place.  

The candidates for the school board seats include Kelly Byrne, Chad Courtney, Steve Makoski, Charles Taylor and Brandi VanAntwerp. Taylor currently serves on the board. Current board president Alina Lehnert decided not to run for re-election.

What does a school board do?

Generally speaking, a local board of education oversees the education of the students enrolled in the district, but not at a day-to-day level. Board members, who are not paid for their service, vote on key decisions about contracts, budgets, tax levies, district property and student welfare. 

Arguably the most important decision a board will make is who it employs as the district’s superintendent, as many responsibilities will be delegated to her and her administration.

Which candidates do you align with?

The two candidates elected on April 5 will join the board later this month and serve unpaid, three-year terms. The five candidates each provided answers to the Daily Citizen about a series of key questions facing the board in the coming months and years, including how they believe the district should address teacher staffing issues, whether or not a public school district should be run like a business, what qualifies them to join the school board and more. 

You can view each candidate’s responses to the Daily Citizen’s questions in two ways. You can find all the responses that a candidate provided by clicking on each candidate’s name here: Kelly Byrne, Chad Courtney, Steve Makoski, Charles Taylor and Brandi VanAntwerp.

Or you can see how all the candidates answered a particular question. The collection of questions and answers is available here.

A sample ballot for the school board election, which is part of the Greene County general municipal election cycle, is available here.

Cory Matteson

Cory Matteson moved to Springfield in 2022 to join the team of Daily Citizen journalists and staff eager to launch a local news nonprofit. He returned to the Show-Me State nearly two decades after graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Prior to arriving in Springfield, he worked as a reporter at the Lincoln Journal Star and Casper Star-Tribune. More by Cory Matteson