Budget cuts are the primary concern for every candidate running for the Olathe school board in the general election on April 7.
LeEtta Felter and Jim Poe are vying for the Position 1 seat.
Joe Beveridge and Robyn Essex are vying for the Position 7 at-large seat.
Facing off for Position 1 are Felter, a seasoned educational activist, and Poe, a newcomer hoping for his chance to make a difference.
Incumbent Felter says she is running because she wants four more years on the school board to continue being a champion for public education.
One of the biggest issues she hopes to tackle, if elected, is the uncertain funding facing all public school districts in Kansas.
The long-time educational leader pointed out that as the Olathe School District rapidly expands, the state needs stability and predictability in its policies in order for the state and school districts, to thrive.
“I hope that all Kansans can come together and realize that we are all in this together and the future is bright,” she said. “Let’s get to work and create solid policy, with input from all parties, and chart the course to a better future for Kansas and thus, for public education in Kansas.”
Her opponent, Poe, a retired grandfather of 10, is running for a chance to represent the district because he wants to help the children of Olathe get a quality education.
He believes the issues for the Olathe School District are the same ones facing all schools in Kansas. They include proper funding of schools, treating teachers as assets and not deficits, and helping to get schools back on track to properly educate students.
“I personally believe I have management skills that will help me work on making our schools work for the students,” he said.
For the Position 7 at-large seat, business leader Beveridge and former educator Essex are facing off.
For Beveridge, budget cuts are the biggest concern.
If elected, he said he will be in constant dialogue with state legislators to make sure they know the impact additional cuts will make on Olathe’s children and classrooms.
Essex says she hopes to be elected so she can be a voice for those who feel they don’t have one.
She sees the district’s biggest challenge as meeting the needs of its diverse student population.
If elected, she will encourage the district to hire quality teachers and coaches. She also wants to see the district be innovative and open to new ideas.
Education: Bachelor’s in business administration, marketing minor, Southern Nazarene University; master’s in business administration, Baker University
Occupation: Business owner
Elected experience: Olathe school board, 2011- present
Education: Locomotive Engineer Program, Santa Fe RR
Occupation: Retired employee of BNSF Railway
Elected experience: None
Education: Bachelor’s in biology and environmental studies, University of Kansas; master’s in biology, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Occupation: Self-employed, president of Solid Ground Environmental LLC
Elected experience: None
Education: Bachelor’s in business administration with a minor in psychology, MidAmerica Nazarene University.
Occupation: Stay-at-home mother; former preschool teacher and corporate trainer/educator
Elected experience: Precinct committeewoman, 3rd District delegate, state delegate