Mar. 30, 2019
School Board elections are one of the most important elections we vote in. The school board makes decisions that affect our children daily, impact our schools and our home values. The Lee’s Summit School District is one of the largest employers in our community and plays a significant part in supporting our economy and reputation.
A school board should reflect the community it serves so all perspectives are considered as decisions are made. Lee’s Summit has board members who represent teachers and administrators as well as the local business community. Replacing outgoing board members with new members who have the same perspective will not improve decision making or help us overcome the challenges we face in serving our students.
What Lee’s Summit needs now are new voices who can speak for all parents and residents. I highly recommend you consider candidates Kathy Campbell, Bill Birmingham, and Amy Turgon when you cast your vote on Tuesday, April 2. They are strong independent candidates who will govern ethically and professionally as our school district looks to the future.
There are signs around Lee’s Summit paid for by a political action committee whose membership falls short of representing the wonderfully diverse residents that call Lee’s Summit home. Some in the group don’t even live in the district’s boundaries. The candidates they have endorsed would not bring fresh perspectives to the board, but would only duplicate skills that other board members already possess.
There has also been much unwarranted criticism of our superintendent in recent months, with many calling for change. Replacing the superintendent at this time would be a mistake. Why do I believe that? I served on the school board for six years and have been heavily involved in the district for more almost 15 years. I participated in the most recent superintendent search and know first-hand the caliber of candidates that applied for the job. On the heels of a very public and negative time in our school district, most candidates were not willing to work in a district that was so obviously divided.
I am surprised at how most assume that top superintendent candidates are waiting for the opportunity to work in Lee’s Summit. Our last search process proved that is not true. We were fortunate to find a candidate with Dr. Carpenter’s experience. If the Lee’s Summit community pushes the school board to replace him after only a few years, we will likely be disappointed in the quality of the candidates that are willing to take a chance on our divided community.
As you cast your vote on Tuesday, please support candidates who will govern without a predetermined agenda, will work to heal our divides, and will make decisions that are in the best interest of all of our students, teachers and staff. The future of our school district and the quality of education and opportunity we offer to our youth depends on our next steps.
Former R7 Board Member and President