Expect A Much Different Acting Shawnee Mission School Board After Tuesday's Election

Nov 7, 2017

There will be a very different Shawnee Mission school board next year. Three reform candidates won Tuesday night.
Credit Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The Shawnee Mission school board is going to have a very different look next year.

All three reform candidates won Tuesday night, replacing three veteran board members.

That now gives reformers a 4-3 edge on the board.

One of the reform leaders is at-large board member Brad Stratton who wasn’t on the ballot last night.

"The voters in the Shawnee Mission District came out and said loud and clear that they'd like some new voices at the board table," he says.

Stratton says this new board will be tougher on the administration. “They’re going to be the ones asking questions, the tough ones as well, and that’s part of elected leadership and I look forward to welcoming them as part of our school board.”

One of the big criticisms of the board was that it had become too close to the administration and was lax in its oversight duties.

This new board will pick the new superintendent, so the district could look and operate very differently by this time next year.

Veteran Shawnee Mission West area board member Craig Denny lost to Laura Guy, 60 percent to 40 percent.

Heather Ousley easily won the at-large race, beating Mandi Hunter, 66 percent to 34 percent. Incumbent Cindy Neighbor lost her re-election bid in the August primary.

In the Shawnee Mission East area election Mary Sinclair beat James Lockard, 77 percent to 23 percent. East area incumbent Donna Bysfield, who had six terms on the board, initially filed for re-election but pulled out of the race in May.

Sam Zeff covers education for KCUR and the Kansas News Service and is co-host of the political podcast Statehouse Blend Kansas. Follow him on Twitter @SamZeff.