Archive for Thursday, February 1, 2001

Voters to have several options for Feb. 27 primary

February 1, 2001

Eudora voters will see plenty of options on this year's ballot when it comes time to choose three members for the Eudora School Board. A Feb. 27 primary will be held to trim the list of seven candidates to six.

Board president Marion Johnson and incumbents Bob Rice and Carlie Abel have terms expiring this year. All three have filed for re-election.

Abel is nearing the end of his second term. He said his experience on the board has been, at times, frustrating. Rapid growth in the school district has been a tough issue to deal with, Abel said.

Though the board is considering construction of a new high school, Abel said he supports adding on to Eudora High and upgrading Eudora Middle School.

"I would say anything that made a commitment to that school on Main Street (EMS) and tied in an option of adding classrooms to the high school, I'm all for," Abel said. "Those are the only two options I'm even considering with any merit.

"Some boards of the past said we could add on to this high school. If we're going to have a bond issue, we need to do something with that school on Main Street."

Abel said he's running because he wants to see the board provide for Eudora's students without breaking taxpayers. As the board weighs its options, he hopes to be there to give his two cents worth and to help keep taxes low.

"I want to get my licks in there and that's why I'm sticking around," Abel said.

Former board member Brenda Clark has also filed for election.

Clark served on the board from 1995 to 1999. After two years rest, Clark said she is ready to run again. Working with other members on the board and for Eudora's students was a job she said was rewarding.

Clark said she has kept up with the district's growth problems and hopes she can be a valuable resource as the board considers its options. She was a board member when Eudora West Elementary was built and is a member of the Eudora Middle School site council.

"I don't think I've had any doubt in a long time that the growth that's gone on in this community was to come. We need facility space," Clark said. "It's going to happen and it's probably going to increase taxes, but in the long run, aren't our kids worth it?"

Keeping the public informed every step of the way would be essential to the board's success and progress, Clark said.

"It's going to have to get adequate, accurate information to the public," she said.

Three newcomers will be on the ballot as well. Tracy Bowling, James Harris and Richard Palmer have filed for the positions, hoping to make it past the February primary and advance to the general election on April 3.

A 20-year Eudora resident, Palmer has one child in third-grade and a toddler who will begin preschool next year.

He feels the board needs more members with experience in technology. As technology takes a stronger hold in the curriculum, Palmer said he would be a valuable asset to the district. The network administrator works for a non-profit community Internet provider.

A recent board meeting convinced Palmer someone with his technology background was needed on the board.

"Not one of them seemed like they knew anything about technology," Palmer said. "It just got me to thinking that probably in the next few years, we'll need to make some real critical decisions on technology and finances with technology."

Bowling has two children attending Eudora High. He has worked 20 years as a construction project manager for large, commercial jobs and said he would like to be on the board as it plans for possible additions or construction to the district's schools.

"I've built everything from water parks in Malaysia to Marriott's in downtown Atlanta," he said. "As a community, we're going to be faced with growth and I'm hopeful throughout the years I can help in that direction."

Harris worked for 22 years as a custodian in the district. He said he has seen a lot of changes in Eudora's schools over the years. His four children are no longer in school, something he believes gives him a valuable perspective.

"One reason I'm running is the people who don't have kids in school anymore should have a representative on the school board and they're in the majority," he said. "I've been kind of out of sync with things for a year. But, I'm concerned about the growth (of our schools). I think the crowded schools can be solved without bankrupting the community."

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