May 30, 2020

Dear Editor:

If you believe in putting kids first in LSR7, I hope you will vote YES on Tuesday, June 2 for the bond issue and for the candidates with the top grades as “graded” below.

New Candidates

Larry Anderson
Grade: A

He’s a candidate with experience in governing a school district and has an engineering background. Larry has almost six years of prior board service and earned the master’s level certification from the Missouri School Board Association (only one member who has earned that level will remain on the board). This is the “silver medal” equivalent of certifications, but one no one else in this race has bothered to earn it in the past three years. An “advanced” level certification (“bronze medal” equivalent) can be earned year one. With the work the district needs to do when the bond passes, he brings important professional expertise to the table.

Brian Austerman
Grade: D

When a candidate is guarded responding to questions, it’s concerning. During the debate, his responses were vague about work experience with budgeting, and he offered no evidence of engagement or involvement in the typical LSR7 organizations or a sense of district budgeting and the process to build and govern with it.

Christine Bushyhead
Grade: F

Citizens are raising concerns: she should have her child enrolled in the district if she wants to lead the district. She attempted to inoculate her campaign from this attack, which was as effective as the non-existent March 2020 COVID-19 vaccine. She failed in the debate to disclose her history with the real estate development crowd (i.e., campaign donations from them, which is a matter of public record on the Missouri Ethics Commission website); she says she can fairly represent homeowners, who bear the disproportionate burden of property development tax deals.

Kathy Campbell
Grade: B+

Benefitting from her second run for the LSR7 board of education, Campbell, a parent of two district graduates and an active school volunteer, attended numerous board of education meetings, workshops and events. Her clear responses reflect career experiences in information technology project leadership and direct application to the district’s governance. Don’t let the Foundations for “THEIR” Future endorsement dissuade you from supporting Campbell.

Mark Leetch
Grade: F

It was quite troubling to hear a candidate whose wife has taught in the district keep repeating that teacher morale is a problem. This was the only theme he offered for why he should be elected. What’s also troubling is his response to the conflict of interest question: omitting in the debate and then in the chamber candidate profile that he may be employed by the company that holds the district’s valuable contract for employee benefits.

Megan Marshall
Grade: A

Voters don’t often see a first time candidate who puts together a robust campaign and then comes to a forum and responds substantively and honestly. Marshall, a parent with kids in school, is a regular at the LSR7 board of education meetings, workshops and events. She effectively tied her professional experience—gained in a public service career in the Marine Corps from which she recently retired—to how she would contribute successfully to the district’s governance. (Thank you for your service on behalf of a grateful nation.)

Matthew Niewald
Grade: D

This is the Foundations for “THEIR” Future stalking horse. His debate responses were ill-prepared and lacking in substance.

David Thompson
Grade: C

Dr. Thompson stated that he wanted to be sure that a person of color was a candidate in this year’s race. He directly acknowledged Megan Marshall’s qualification and efforts to win. He came across sincerely and kindly.


Kim Fritchie
Grade: F

At the candidate debate she could not offer a cogent argument for her reelection. For those who don’t know her, there are complaints about her approach to decision making during her tenure as a teacher and assistant principal, but if people could witness her approach behind closed doors, there would be more patrons with concerns. She also failed to disclose in the debate, when asked, about a conflict of interest that was raised for years about her “representing” retirees—including herself—on the district’s Insurance and Benefits Committee where decisions are made that affect thousands of district employees whom she is representing as a board member.

Remember that even in the previous election Fritchie failed to gain universal support from teacher groups. That was fortuitous. The only local teacher group to endorse her—then and now— is the local NEA, the same group who (at the March 12, 2020 board meeting) demanded that NEA-supported board members ignore the long-standing and successful salary determination process and upend the district’s annual salary agreement, which Team Lee’s Summit had submitted to the board for approval. And, once again the local NEA mentioned their support of certain board members’ candidacies in correspondence in the middle of the pandemic in May. There’s a difference between supporting our staff and allowing a small group of teachers to wield its quid pro quo power over school board members. Board candidates need to act on behalf of the district as a whole, not just those who may have some sway over a handful of votes.

You need people who are independent, objective and fair serving on the board in order to educate all of the kids in this district. We have three well-qualified individuals in Marshall, Anderson and Campbell.

See you at the polls June 2 and vote YES for the Kids!

Jacqueline Clark
Distinguished Certified Board Member

1 Comment

1 Comment

  • Jessica

    June 1, 2020 - 2:59 pm

    The “long-standing and successful salary determination” is one that discriminated against veteran teachers by “freezing” their movement on the schedule and offering new hires all of their years or experience as steps on the salary schedule. It’s not successful, it’s a mess, and it needs to be reconfigured. I spoke at that March 12 board meeting because my family has been impacted first hand by this issue.

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