(HELENA) Erin Turner says she’s running for the Helena School District Board of Trustees because public involvement is a key part of public education.

“As a citizen of this city, I have a major interest in what happens in our public schools, not just because my children are there, but because I plan to be a neighbor to my schools for the next 50 years,” she said.

Turner has lived in Helena for almost 22 years, and previously ran for school board in 2015. She is an editorial director with the publishing company Rowman & Littlefield, and has children in fourth and seventh grades.

Turner says she has taken an interest in educational issues for years, and studied ways districts around the country are dealing with them.

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She says the Helena School District needs to address its facilities, and the current $63 million bond to build three new elementary schools is a good way to start. But she says the facilities issue has also highlighted other challenges local schools face.

“Some of the inequity between our elementary schools has really become more evident, as we’ve seen results and test scores go up and down across the district depending on where students are in school,” she said.

In the end, Turner says the school board needs to make sure students are its top priority.

“I am interested in representing my community, with the idea of putting students in front of facilities and in front of parochial interests,” she said.

Turner is one of six candidates running for two open seats on the Helena school board. You can find interviews with the other five candidates here.

Ballots must be returned by May 2.