Archive for Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top-five stories for Eudora in 2009

Parents and students tour the new Eudora Elementary School before it opened in August. The opening of the school was The Eudora News No. 5 story of the year.

Parents and students tour the new Eudora Elementary School before it opened in August. The opening of the school was The Eudora News No. 5 story of the year.

December 31, 2009

City election

Scott Hopson unseated incumbent mayor of Eudora Tom Pyle by nearly 200 votes in April, garnering 464 votes compared to 277 votes for Pyle. Jean Farmer finished with 46 votes.

Hopson said the first thing he planned to do was sit down with all city personnel and ask them what three things they would like to see changed. He said he would also do the same thing with each department head.

Bill Whitten and Tim Reazin won the two open seats on the Eudora City Council. Whitten, the incumbent, received 392 votes, while Reazin received 381.

City administrator

After about 4 years on the job, Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty resigned April 15.

Beatty said she was resigning because newly elected mayor Scott Hopson had enacted policies that were not conducive to a working environment.

The search for a new city administrator lasted about six months. At the end of July, the city thought Scott Hildebrand, the risk manager and a city attorney for the city of Lenexa, had accepted the position. two weeks later he declined a contract from the city.

The city finally filled the position in October when it hired Johnson County budget analyst John Harrenstein.

Water lawsuit

This year also saw some progression in the city of Eudora’s lawsuit with Douglas County Rural Water District No. 4.

On May 28, a jury in U.S. District Court in Topeka found the city had limited Douglas County Rural Water District No. 4’s ability to serve 113 acres annexed into the city in recent years. The jury also awarded $23,500 to the district to pay for engineering studies the water district presented as evidence. U.S. District Judge Julie A. Robinson will award costs, including attorney fees, in subsequent motions.

The district filed subsequent a motions asking for attorney fees totaling about $800,000.

In September, the district was granted an injunction that ordered the city to refrain from competing for customers with RWD 4.

The city filed an appeal of the verdict and the case could be heard in late 2010 by the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

District budget woes

USD 491 fought through budget cuts made throughout the year at the state level.

After an earlier 2.75 percent cut to public school funding, Gov. Mark Parkinson announced in November another round of budget cuts, which cost the $355,511t.

Superintendent Don Grosdidier said at the December Board of Education meeting the impending budget cuts would be more unpleasant than those the district made the previous school year.

New elementary school

Since opening in August, the newly built Eudora Elementary School has earned rave reviews from community members and state leaders.

In August, students and parents got a sneak peak of the school during Meet Your Teacher day. Then, in September, Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Alexa Posny and Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kan., spoke in September during a formal dedication.

At a capacity of about 1,000 students, the school will be the biggest in the history of Eudora. It features biome themed neighborhoods that will be divided according to grade level, which caught the eye of more than a few students.

The $27 million school that houses students in grades first through fifth and is the flagship of the $45 million bond issue Eudora voters approved in Nov. 2007.

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