Finally, we’re voting on school board

Lee's Summit JournalMarch 14, 2014 

While much attention is centered around the April 8 election for city council and the no-tax-increase bond question for the 291/50 bridge improvements, it should be noted another big ballot issue will also be in front of voters – for R-7 School Board.

While complacency seems to rear its ugly head nearly every election cycle – and this one is no exception with no candidates filed for mayor against Randy Rhoads or in District 4 against Dave Mosby – at least we can say this time it is not on the school board level.

Four candidates, including two incumbents, are vying for three open positions.

A round of applause should go to Bill Baird and Mark Ousnamer for throwing their names onto a ballot to hold a position that is 100 percent voluntary.

Unlike city council, school board members are not paid.

Strikingly similar to city council, they are often criticized for their decisions, even when most school board meetings sit empty.

As with any elected position, it is often easier (especially in the realm of social media) to lob grenades from afar than it is to be an engaged member of the community.

Baird and Ousnamer join incumbents Chris Storms and Terri Harmon on the ballot. Also to their credit, Storms and Harmon have found a redeeming quality in serving this public office and are ready to run again.

So what distinguishes one from the other? And why should the incumbents get another term?

The public has an opportunity to ask those questions next week.

This Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce and your Lee’s Summit Journal will again team up to bring you a public forum at 6 p.m., March 19 at the Stansberry Leadership Center.

District plans, budgets, student services and a number of other education-related topics that we know are vital to our community will be on the list.

We don’t get to have a school board election each cycle, for sure. This time around, we do. And voters need to take the responsibility of educating themselves and casting a ballot. That process starts with a public forum.

When we know as much as possible about the candidates serving our community, we can make the decisions that take us through to positive results.


John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail

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