Archive for Thursday, January 22, 2009

4 candidates assure De Soto board primary

January 22, 2009

A spring primary is set for residents in De Soto USD 232’s Position 4.

Residents of Position 4, De Soto and the unincorporated area to the south and west, will head to the poll to cast votes on March 3.

And there will be plenty to choose from in this primary. As of Tuesday, four people have filed to fill the position currently held by Randy Johnson. Johnson recently filed to run for De Soto Mayor, but hasn’t ruled out a run for school board out.

Margaret Johnson and Roger Templin, who filed for Position 4 earlier this month, were joined in the last week by Gregory Hines and Jeff Hopkins.

Hines, who has children at De Soto High School and Starside Elementary School, filed for the race because of his belief the community should be more involved with the school district.

A long-time De Soto resident, Hines said the decisions the board made now would affect the next generation in many ways.

“If we’re going to spend money, we need to make sure it’s for the children,” he said.

Cutting costs is something Hines is looking forward to if he were elected to the board.

“In these economic times, we are going to cut and I don’t want our children to be shortchanged in those decisions,” he said.

Hines said he understood how the economy was affecting people and their concerns. He i currently unemployed, but has a background in collision repair and custom painting.

Even if he isn’t elected, Hines said he would attend every board meeting, because he it was important that taxpayers and parents are involved.

Jeff Hopkins filed for school board to tackle problems like the budget and growth in the school district.

Hopkins, who has two children at Mize Elementary School, previously served on a boundary committee before the opening of Horizon Elementary. Hopkins and his family have lived in the school district for 12 years.

Aside from working on the boundary committee, Hopkins serves on an industrial advising committee at Kansas State University.

“The two biggest issues are the budget and the growth in the district,” he said. “Managing both of those will be a challenge and will take a lot of time.”

If elected, Hopkins would also like to address contention on the school board.

“The school district would be better served and the board would get more done if there were less contention,” he said.

While the school board race for Position 4 is heating up, Positions 2 and 6 also received filers.

Janine Gracy, current board member for Position 5, filed for re-election. Also filing for re-election is current board president and Position 6 Board member Larry Meyer.

Gracy remains unopposed, but Meyer has competition from Tim Needham.

Needham, a Mill Valley High School senior, said he filed because it was time for students to be properly represented on the school board.

“People may look at my age and not think I know what’s going on, but I feel that I’m a very informed voter and I know what’s going on in the district,” he said.

Needham said his involvement in extra-curricular activities at Mill Valley, such as four years on student council, as well as his volunteer work on campaigns last year have helped prepare him for a run on the school board.

Needham attends school board meetings regularly to keep up with what’s going on in the district.

“One of the most important issues for the school board is the way the bond issue money will be handled,” he said. “I think it will be very interesting.”

Needham always planned to get into politics eventually, but a few months ago he realized he wanted to get involved sooner.

If elected Needham said he would like to see the board more unified.

“You’ll see on the school board a lot of the time there is a big split, especially on big issues like the bond issue,” he said. “It created a split in the district. I think there is always room to find compromise.”

The March 3 school board primary is limited to the voters living within the position’s boundaries, but the top-two vote getters would move on to a April 7 general election that would be contested districtwide.

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