SALADO — Voters listened to candidates for school board, board of aldermen and mayor discuss visions for the future of the village at a Chamber of Commerce-hosted forum Thursday night.

Kristi Jarvis put the lack of classroom space front and center in her remarks about the pressing issues facing the school board.

“Our buildings are aging,” Jarvis said. “The elementary school was built in 1967. How do we build new buildings and fix the existing buildings? We need a bond election and not one just for new athletic facilities.”

Kim Bird, an incumbent board member, told the crowd she agreed that repairing facilities is an issue, attracting the best employees takes precedence.

“We have many people apply for jobs with the district, but we only want the best and the brightest. To attract and retain the best we need to be able to offer salaries that compete with the larger school districts in the area,” Bird said.

Rodney Bell, another incumbent, picked up the theme of infrastructure and facilities as the most pressing issue facing the district. “We can’t use a building over and over again. ... I don’t like bonds as much as the next person, but it might be time to think about one.”

Brian Sunshine, who ran for school board in 2011, felt that both the facilities repair and competitive salaries took a back seat to the need to create a comprehensive long-term plan for the growth of the district. “We need a strategic plan and vision for the future. ... We need to prove to the community that we need new facilities.”

How do we preserve the quality of education and deal with the coming growth?”

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