Archive for Thursday, January 23, 2003

Switches scramble School Board races

January 23, 2003

The filing deadline was one of confusion and switches in the De Soto USD 232 Board of Education spring elections.

The confusion started when Curtis Allenbrand followed through on his announced intention and went Tuesday morning to the Johnson County Election Office to file for re-election to the Position 3 seat just hours before the noon deadline. He learned then he was no longer a resident in that position's district.

After learning of his error, Allenbrand informed Board clerk Barbara Weis of the development. Although Allenbrand no longer lived in Position 3's boundaries, Board member Sandy Thierer did. Thierer, who won re-election to her Position 4 seat two years ago, was informed of the development and filed for the open seat.

Thierer will have to resign her Position 4 seat if she is elected to the Position 3 seat, a near certainty because she is unopposed.

Weis said the Board would appoint someone to fill Thierer's unexpired term in Position 4. Allenbrand would be eligible for that appointment.

The Board redrew Board district boundaries for Board members last fall based on criteria provided by the district's attorney John Vratil. One on those points was that the Board couldn't eliminate an incumbent's position by redistricting.

Weis said it was thought at the time Allenbrand would seek the at-large position held by Marsha Bennett, who had announced she would not seek re-election. Allenbrand and other Board members forgot that discussion in the last four months, Weis said.

Still, Weis said Tuesday's filings made sense.

"I think it cleans up the switch in the two districts much cleaner than if Sandy stayed in the same position," Weis said. "Our boundaries are much cleaner and much more clear. I think that is a good thing."

That was not the only switch that occurred as the filing deadline approached. It appeared last week the Position 1 of De Soto and Lexington Township would have a race. That changed when Don Clark Jr. withdrew from the Position 1 race and re-filed for the open Position 7 at-large seat.

Clark said he was encouraged to run by district residents who were aware of his connections in De Soto and Shawnee.

"It was a long, hard weekend," he said. "I just talked to a number of people I know on both sides of the district, and more people said they think I could better serve the district in the at-large position.

"You have this division of the east side and west side and there needs to be some ties, and I hope I can be one of the people who can do some of that."

Clark's opponent for the at-large seat is Doug Weis, the husband of the Board's clerk. The race will pit a financial expert against an information technology specialist.

Doug Weis served as the district director of technology for about three years before taking a job with Henderson Engineers. His association with the district included three additional years as either a technology technician or contract consultant. He has an undergraduate degree from Kansas University and a masters degree in management information systems from Friends University. He earned an undergraduate degree in communications studies from KU and will complete his masters in business administration from Rockhurst College's executive fellows program this spring. A certified financial planner, Clark is the manager of the SunAmerica Securities branch in Overland Park, responsible for all the branch's compliance and investment issues.

With only two in the race, no primary will be needed next month. The general election will be April 1.

Barring a successful write-in candidacy, the passing of the filing deadline assures Board members Rick Walker, De Soto, Curtis Allenbrand, rural De Soto, and Bill Waye, Shawnee, another four years on the Board.

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