Lee's Summit Journal

Teacher’s union wants superintendent out, but board hopes to negotiate his contract

Dennis Carpenter
Dennis Carpenter File Photo

The Lee’s Summit School board has voted to begin negotiating with Superintendent Dennis Carpenter to extend his contract. But the Lee’s Summit teachers union has urged the board not to extend that contract.

Among other issues, a letter from the union called Carpenter’s diversity training “controversial.” and “put its focus on ‘white privilege’ as a means to draw attention to diverse bias.”

Carpenter, the district’s first black superintendent, joined the district in July 2017, after being superintendent in the Hickman Mills School District since 2013.

His three-year contract in Lee’s Summit called for an initial yearly salary of $235,000 with annual increases through the 2019-20 academic year that match the percentage boost in base pay for teachers.

No incumbents in large field of school board hopefuls

The Lee’s Summit school board will get two fresh faces this year because no incumbent filed for the two seats that will be on the April 2 ballot.

The field is large this year, with eight candidates.

Board president Phyllis Balagna declared her candidacy but withdrew before the Jan. 15 filing deadline. Bob White is the other incumbent whose term is expiring this spring.

The candidates, in the order they will appear on the ballot: Michael McMenus, Michael D. Allen, Paul Dornon, Billy Wayne Birmingham Jr., Amy Turgon, Donald R. Olson Jr., Judith “Judy” C. Hedrick and Kathryn “Kathy” Campbell.

The new school board will be making some important decisions as the district continues its comprehensive planning process on how best to use its buildings and make sure both older and newer schools offer roughly equal learning opportunities. Ideas offered so far include moving sixth graders into the middle schools and a 2020 ballot initiative for school construction.

Online tool for college/career planning

Naviance Student is a comprehensive website that R-7 secondary students and their parents can use to make plans about colleges and careers. It’s being used by students in grades seven through 12.

The website allows students to research colleges and careers, take career aptitude tests and get involved in the advising process while creating plans for the future. It also can be used to shares information with parents and students about upcoming meetings and events, local scholarship opportunities and other resources.

An email has been sent to parents with instructions on how to register. Questions should be directed to the school guidance counselor or to Tawni Boman-Meek at 816-986-3423.

Open house for Career Center

The Cass Career Center invites students and parents to an open house from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Feb. 5 to learn more about the offerings there, as well as opportunities to earn industry certifications and college credit.

Operated by the Harrisonville School District, the career center is open to high school students from other districts, including Lee’s Summit and Lone Jack. Students from sending schools can enroll as juniors.

Programs offered next year include agriculture, automotive technology, construction technology, criminal justice/CSI, emergency medical tech, firefighting, health sciences, marketing, welding and networking/cyber security.

The adult practical nursing program also will participate in the open house and share information about the 11-month accelerated LPN program.

The career center is at 1600 E. Elm St. in Harrisonville.

R-7 ed foundation offers scholarships

High school seniors in the Lee’s Summit district have until March 5 to apply for scholarships offered through the Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation, which has received individual and corporate donations for that purpose.

Last year, 62 students were awarded a total of $72,000. Apply online at www.lsedfoundation.com/scholarships.