Half of the candidates on the Park Hill school board ballot are incumbents. But there will be at least one new face on the board as voters will select three of the four candidates for three-year terms.
Current board members Bart J. Klein and Janice Bolin are joined on the ticket by Jim Dunn and Scott Monsees.
Last year, the board oversaw a student population of more than 11,000 students enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12, making it the 18th largest school district in the state. The district is now experiencing its 33rd consecutive year of growth.
That growth prompted the district to place a no-tax-increase bond issue on the ballot. If voters pass it, the funds will be used for facility construction and management. All of the candidates said they support the measure.
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Klein said his top priorities are getting the best education option for children while being mindful of the taxpayer, and reinforcing district curriculum that looks at post-graduation plans. Klein, the board treasurer, often works with elected representatives in Jefferson City and said representing the district at the state capital would remain a priority.
“I take my role as a board member seriously and make every attempt to be aware of issues impacting the district and to work with resources at the state and local level,” he said. “My goal is to ensure that our public schools remain properly funded, our taxpayers are not adversely impacted and that all students believe Park Hill provides a safe and supportive learning environment where they can excel.”
Bolin said her top three priorities are student safety, a strong fiscal position and improving academic achievement. She said a district challenge is balancing fiscal responsibility in a manner that ensures the district retains and supports staff.
“We also face changing demands for jobs and the skills necessary for those jobs, especially in the area of technology,” she said. “We will need to continue to work with community employers and be adaptive to the meet the demands of the global economy.”
Monsees said his first priorities are the online security of district students, handling continued district growth and financial oversight. He said the biggest challenge facing the district right now is overcrowding at the schools.
“The online safety and security of our students is a concern to me based on my own experiences as a parent and in hearing from other parents around the district,” he said. “The board needs to make certain that appropriate policies are in place, tools are implemented correctly and district staff members are equipped to protect our students’ online safety and security.”
Dunn said because of “wasteful spending, poorly implemented initiatives and a flawed superintendent selection” in recent years, it’s key that the board focuses on transparency and accountability. He said his top priorities are advocating for public education as a part of a community, efficient spending and navigating the district’s growth with a focus on students who present special challenges.
“Districts, like other government or business organizations, change and grow when challenged to increase efficiency and effectiveness,” he said. “Park Hill is a good district with great staff, but my experience in public schools has taught me district leaders need to clearly and regularly communicate an expectation for focused, strategic use of resources.”
Bart J. Klein
Address: 8612 N. Oregon Ave., Kansas City
Occupation: Interim chief information officer and vice president at Dickinson Financial Corp.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in business administration and data processing from the University of Central Missouri, 1980
Public experience: Park Hill school board, 2014 to present. Currently serving as board treasurer.
Website: Bart Klein on Facebook
Address: 4905 N.W. 84th Terrace, Kansas City
Occupation: Assistant general manager for FC Kansas City women’s professional team
Education: Bachelor’s degree in accounting from Kansas State University, 1993
Public experience: Park Hill school board, 2009 to present
Address: 5303 N.W. 78th Place, Kansas City
Occupation: Software engineer at Monsees Technologies, Inc.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in computer science from University of Missouri-Kansas City, 1991
Public experience: N/A
Website: Monsees for Park Hill
Occupation: A teacher and leader at local nonprofit Local Investment Commission (LINC), which serves students who are unable to return to public school.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia, 1985; master’s degree in education, curriculum and instruction from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, 1993
Public experience: Platte County Board of Services,1996 to 1999