Voters will pick two of the four candidates on April 2 to fill open slots on the Raytown Board of Education, which has seven elected members. Incumbents Rick Thode and Bobbie Saulsberry are attempting to secure their seats for another three years. Pam Arlund and Ken Grist are seeking public office for the first time.
By KATHLEEN POINTER
Special to The Star
When asked about the big issues were facing their schools, several candidates mentioned the impact of the Kansas City Public Schools losing accreditation. The district is involved in a battle over accepting student transfers from the Kansas City district, as called for in state law when a district becomes unaccredited.
The district also includes parts of Independence and eastern Kansas City.
• Age: 59
• Address: 7204 E. 84th, Raytown
• Occupation: Retired partner and CPA with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC
• Education: Bachelor’s in business administration from Wichita State University, Master’s in business administration from Northwestern University
• Public experience: Raytown school board since 2009, Park University Board of Trustees treasurer, mayoral appointee to Raytown Special Sales Tax Oversight Committee, former board member of the Kansas City Sports Commission, former chairman of the Children’s Center for the visually impaired
• Stances: Against TIF and tax abatements like the Winchester TIF that transfer district tax revenues to real estate projects. Supports legal battle with the Kansas City school district to prevent the transfer of the students to the Raytown district. Believes the district needs to make investments over the next 10 years to restore and modernize facilities.
• Age: 66
• Address: 8423 Woodson Drive, Raytown
• Occupation: New business rep for Missouri Gas Energy
• Education: Associate’s degree in art from Penn Valley Community College, now MCC-Penn Valley
• Public experience: Raytown school board since 2007
• Stances: Supports lengthening the school year. One of her priorities would be to continue to implement the district’s emergency preparedness program.
• Age: 41
• Address: 9107 E. 51st Terrace, Kansas City
• Occupation: Director of training at All Nations Family in Grandview
• Education: Ph.D. and master’s degrees in linguistics from the University of Texas at Arlington; bachelor’s in international affairs from George Washington University
• Public experience: None
• Stances: Wants to make sure that the “crisis in the Kansas City, Mo., school district does not cause a crisis in the Raytown school district.” Said the district's biggest challenge is its location between two very different school systems.
Kenneth J. Grist
• Age: 68
• Address: 11807 E. 54th St., Kansas City
• Occupation: Safety director for the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association in Kansas City
• Education: Master's in industrial hygiene from University of Central Missouri; bachelor's in business administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia; associate's degree in HVAC at Penn Valley Community College
• Public experience: None
• Stances: His only priority is teaching students basic reading process skills including “span of recognition, speed of perception and mature response to unknown words.” Would work to make this happen by hosting demonstration classes with educators.