Voters send incumbents, Baird to R-7 board

tporter@lsjournal.comApril 11, 2014 

  • 4,243

    Number of votes leading vote-getter Terri Harmon received April 8 in the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District Board of Education race.

Terri Harmon plans to for the next three years continue the work she has done on the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District Board of Education after she was re-elected April 8 to another three-year term.

Fellow incumbent Chris Storms has similar thoughts after he was re-elected as well.

Harmon, Storms and newcomer Bill Baird won the three seats up for election, outlasting fellow candidate Mark Ousnamer.

Harmon and Storms were first elected to the board in 2011 and were up for re-election. Jack Wiley, who has served on the board since 2005, did not file for re-election, which opened the third seat.

Counting votes that included unofficial numbers from election boards in Jackson County, Cass County and Kansas City, Harmon received 4,243 votes, Baird collected 4,045 votes and Chris Storms tallied 3,535 votes.

Ousnamer secured 2,387 votes.

“Continuing legislative advocacy is really going to be important as we continue to fight for full funding in education and some of the legislative and legal issues that are still out there such as student transfers and unaccredited districts,” Harmon said of her goals a day after retaining nearly 30 percent of the 14,000-plus votes that were cast. “And then just working to further enhance curriculum and what we do for students everyday in every building.”

Storms added: “We’ve had a good board over the last few years and I think the two of us that were re-elected and the addition of Bill Baird will continue the collaboration that the board has and we’ll continue to be able to work together without disagreements setting us back. I’m looking forward to moving forward with the Missouri Innovation Campus project and maintaining the financial stability that the school district has achieved over the last three years.”

For Baird, a long-time member of the Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation, his first term on the board will be quite different than his tenure with the educational foundation from which he will have to step away to avoid potential conflict of interests.

“It’s going to be sad because I’ve worked with that organization for eight or more years,” Baird said. “It’s going to be tough. I need to focus this year on being a school board member. I can be a part of so much more. We were always trying to raise money to enhance the learning process with the foundation and with the school board it’s so much bigger and so much more to contribute. It’s going to be hard work learning everything that I need to know, but I’m most excited about being a part of the best school district that I know.”

In a written statement, Ousnamer thanked the citizens of Lee’s Summit who voted for him and took interests in his concerns.

“I would like to thank the voters of the R-7 school district for getting out and participating in this election,” Ousnamer said in the statement. He received fewer than 17 percent of the vote. “I appreciate your support and feedback, opinions and passion for the topics discussed the last few months as well as your votes. Although I was not elected to the school board I will continue to use my business background and expertise to ensure accountability and consistency in the operations of the R-7 school district.”

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