West Plains School Board Questionnaires -- Jodi Purgason

Name: Jodi Purgason
Length of time in district: West Plains has been my home my entire life. I am extremely passionate about our community and the opportunities it has to offer for our district. 
Connections to the district: I graduated from West Plains Senior High in 2011 and currently have a third and first grader enrolled in South Fork Elementary. My youngest will begin attending as well in the fall of 2024.
Brief personal bio: I've had the privilege of being a stay-at-home mom for the past seven years along with helping with our farm. Family is my top priority, and I am extremely passionate about improving our community for the well-being of our children and future generations.
I currently work for Keller Wiliams as a realtor, and I personally understand how to work with both sides to get things done.
Why are you running for school board? This world has become unrecognizable. From progressive curriculum to active school shooters, sending our children to school has become almost a risk at this point. Covid has also pushed our parents out of our classrooms and has made parent involvement more difficult than it should be. I want to be on the board so I can actively work along with parents. I feel like there is a huge need for parent involvement along with better communication with the board. As a parent, I personally don't feel these are being met satisfactorily.
Do you have an existing relationship with any members of the school board or administration? I do not.
How can the district improve school safety? I understand that money is always going to be an issue, but there are free resources available. We can work right along with the NRA to ensure our buildings are up to secure safety measures at no cost. I'm also a huge supporter of the second amendment and our local law enforcement, and I would love to see our teachers conceal carry.
Are you familiar with Missouri's Sunshine Law? I am. I think it's extremely important for the use of our tax dollars to be seen and transparent.
What is the most important improvement the district can make to academic performance? Our DESE scores were not where they need to be. I'm proud to say that South Fork scored the highest out of the entire district, and I think the rest of R-VII can learn a lot from our tiny but mighty school.
Should parents/guardians or community stakeholders be concerned about CRT-influenced curricula in West Plains now or in the future? I think so. Though it is not currently being taught, education as a whole is progressing in this direction rapidly. I'm a huge advocate for teaching history so it will not repeat itself, but not in a way that ties an entire generation to circumstances that were absolutely not their responsibility.
In terms of resource allocation, please rank the following topics from most important to least important:
1. School grounds/facilities/maintenance
2. Teacher job satisfaction
3. Existing academic programs
4. Teacher Pay
5. Athletics
6. New academic programs
Does introducing a school uniform to R-VII school make sense for the district? Why or why not? As of now, I don't personally think so. We have plenty of other factors we need to improve. However, I would not be opposed to it in the future.
What does R-VII do better than anybody else? "Once a Zizzer, Always a Zizzer." West Plains does tradition better than anyone else. We've had administrators in the past who have tried to change parade routes, and the community was less than excited. We are a community with generations of Zizzers and deep roots. I would love to see even more passed traditions make a comeback.
If school choice becomes law, how will you compete for students to choose this district? Our district already has a very competitive athletic program, if we could get our buildings and classrooms up to the same standards I personally don’t see the district losing many students in that scenario. Having improved classrooms will allow for more effective learning and we should see an increase in future academics.
For challengers: Why do you think the school district needs a change? Honestly, I don’t think it's necessarily change that the district needs. I think Covid brought too much of that. Getting back to pre-Covid is where I would like to focus. Less rules and regulations, and more parental rights. Getting back to the basics is going to really allow us to make the improvements we need.
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