James Oxford would like an increase in civics and personal finance instruction so students are better prepared for life after graduation and informed as voters, if selected to fill one of two open seats on the Mexico School District No. 59 Board of Education.

"There is a lot to know to be an informed citizen,” he said. “You should know how to read a ballot, understand ballot language.”

Oxford is a supervisor at the Mexico McDonald's with a background in journalism and information technology. He also wants students to know how certain ballot initiatives may affect them or their family, such as with property tax levies.

"I think we need a more extensive government education on just basic economics and taxes, voting, how to do all that," he said. "We leave a lot of high school up to college now. College is like high school part two and it shouldn't be. You should leave high school armed to function as a citizen."

He was encouraged to hold some sort of position, whether it be on a city advisory commission or some other leadership position, by Mexico City Council member Chris Williams.

"He suggested I run," Oxford said. "I know some of the (high school) kids pretty well, and we talk about politics and economics, and he thought it would be a good idea if I got involved with the community."

Oxford wants to focus on high school instruction and how students prepare to enter the workforce or pursue higher education.

"Four year arts degrees aren't exactly the way for everyone,” he said. “I'm just thinking that we need to put students in a good direction or they could end up with a degree they don't need, money they owe and they're working a retail job.”

Oxford also would like to address disciplinary and behavioral issues at the schools, along with the elementary school configuration. He wants to assure administrative duties have clear separations from other responsibilities, such as special education. Oxford also wants to address post-graduation statistics and scholarship usage, such as A+.

"One of my employees, actually in the last year since graduating has dropped out of two schools and (they) had A+ funding," he said. "Are we bringing in recruiters or we giving kids different options? ... Are we actually promoting lots of alternative things?"

Other school board candidates, as they appear on the ballot are Karsten Femrite, Hailey Schutte, Nick Tietsort, Jeremy Wright, Heather DeMint, Andy Craig and Nicole Nelson.