Archive for Thursday, December 28, 2006

Clark’s filing starts spring campaign

December 28, 2006

De Soto USD 232 Board of Education president Don Clark said he wants to serve another four years.

Clark filed for re-election for position 7, an at-large seat. That seat and three others will be contested this spring. Three De Soto City Council seats will also be on the ballot.

"I think the board is a lot different than when I came on four years ago," Clark said. "I had a lot of things I wanted to accomplish. We're improving, but I think we could do more."

Clark said his goal when he was elected to the school board was to improve curriculum in the areas of math and science. The last two years, the district has focused on improving math scores.

Clark lives in rural Lexington Township and is a financial adviser for AIG. He has three children who attend Starside Elementary School, Lexington Trails Middle School and De Soto High School. He also serves on the board for the Kansas State High School Activities Association.

As a financial adviser, Clark said he had expert insight into the district's finances. The district has been able to take advantage of low interest rates to reduce its indebtedness, he said.

"I was a part of that and talked about doing that when the interest rates were the lowest," he said. "That's one of the things I was able to bring as an adviser, and I think other board members respect my opinions on that."

Clark said he had always approached controversial issues with an open mind, willing to listen to any member of the public. He said he was concerned with negative ideas about district spending, especially those that surfaced during the November bond issue elections.

"In years past, it would have been justified," Clark said over concern about district spending. "I don't think it's as loose a gun as it's being made out to be."

Clark also said he was concerned about some community members who might decide to file for board member positions because of opinions based on inaccurate facts.

"If there's other people interested in running for the board, do it because you want to make a difference with student learning and want to make a difference with kids," he said. "Not because you have a grudge or an opinion. We're not looking for people who are just going to come in and say 'yes' or 'no' and not do the research it takes."

Clark said regardless of who files for board member, the elected board should have a reasonable capacity to work together.

"If you get into a situation that you can't work together, you get nothing done," he said. "I'm not one who says we have to agree on everything, but we have to have good discussion and respect."

Clark said one of his continuing goals was to help unite the two sides of the district. As a rural resident, he said he was able to provide neutral decision-making opinions.

"I'm more interested in the even programs and student learning," he said. "We've got to bring the east and west more in alignment with understanding one another's side. It's still a battle between east and west and I don't think it's called for."

Other board members up for re-election but who have not yet filed include Sandy Thierer, Rick Walker and Bill Waye.

Walker, De Soto, represents position 1 of De Soto west of Corliss Road and Lexington Township. Thierer, De Soto, represents position 3 of De Soto east of Corliss Road east into the developed part of Shawnee. Waye, Shawnee, represents position 3 in Shawnee.

If more than three candidates file for one of these three territorially described positions, a Feb. 27, 2007, primary will be conducted to narrow the candidate list to two. The surviving candidates would face off in an April 3 general election open to all voters in the school district.

The De Soto City Council terms of Betty Cannon, Mitra Templin and Linda Zindler also expire this spring. As yet, none of the three have filed for re-election. Should more than six candidates file for the three seats, a Feb. 27 primary will narrow the field to six.

The three city council candidates with the most votes in the April 3 general election will be sworn in later that month.

The filing deadline for both the city council and school board is noon Jan. 23.

Filing information can be obtained at De Soto City Hall, 32905 W. 84th St., and the Johnson County Election Office, 2101 E. Kansas City Road, Olathe.

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