Where will you be August 5?
In less than four weeks, Kansans will have the opportunity to substantially shape the future of our state for several years to come. If this seems like an overstatement, think about the policies and laws passed in the last few years by both our elected state board of education and our Kansas legislators. Their actions have a direct impact on our local communities and our local public schools.
The primary election August 5 has a number of key races, both for state board and for the state legislature. Election season has always been marked by an increase in mail, phone calls and advertising. You add in social media, and it becomes even more tempting to just tune it all out. KASB created an election tracker
to provide information that can help clarify who is running for what seat.
But it is important to listen to what candidates are saying (or not saying!) during this election cycle, and it is even more important to do your own research and find out if they are “walking their talk.” Find out if their voting records and actions align with the direction you believe we must head.
The reality is that many races are already decided or will be decided on August 5. If candidates are running with no general election opponent, their election to the office is essentially decided. If two candidates from the same party are the only candidates, then whoever wins on August 5 has won the election. Independent candidates have until noon on August 4 to file, but this kind of challenger is almost never successful.
Whatever your political affiliation, whether or not you are happy or troubled by the direction our state is going, your vote matters. And it matters that you model the importance of voting and going to the polls on Election Day for your children, grandchildren, friends and colleagues.
Washington County USD 108 board member starts term as President of KASB
Rod Stewart, Washington County USD 108 board of education vice president, took over as president of the Kansas Association of School Boards July 1. Stewart has served as president-elect this past year.
"It is truly an honor to begin my term as president of KASB. I believe KASB is in a position to take the lead on a number of critical issues facing our state, and I ask my fellow board members to remain informed and involved,” he said.
KASB provides service and support to governing boards for unified school districts, community colleges, area vocational-technical schools and cooperatives, interlocals and regional service centers. The association serves a diverse membership base of close to 5,000 board members and educational leaders.
“KASB members have unique challenges and opportunities, but we are united in a common cause,” Stewart said. “We all want our students to be prepared for success, to accomplish their dreams and to become responsible citizens.”
Stewart has held numerous leadership positions at the local level. He served on the USD 222 board of education, president of the consolidation transition board, and is now in his second term on the Washington County USD 108 board, serving terms as president and vice president. He has been involved in the district’s negotiation committee, the superintendent selection committee, the curriculum committee and a several facilities planning and construction committees.
In addition to local leadership, Stewart served two terms on the KASB board of directors as regional vice-president. His involvement with KASB has included numerous committees for the association, including the convention credentials committee and the executive director interview committee. Stewart has been an active participant in both the KASB Governmental Relations and the Federal Relations networks.
Stewart holds a bachelor of science in agriculture education and a master of science in adult and occupational education, both from Kansas State University. He is a member of the Washington County Schools Booster Club and the school’s agriculture science department’s advisory committee. He is a member of the National Corn Growers Association, Kansas Soybean Association, National FFA Alumni Association, K-State Alumni Life Member and both the First United Methodist Church and the Washington County Historical Society.
Stewart begins his leadership of KASB at a time of renewed emphasis on local control brought about by recent legislative decisions.
“We must remain focused on and committed to what’s really important, and always ask ourselves ‘what is in the best interest of the students?' If we, both on our local boards and as KASB, will keep that as a guide, we can provide the kind of leadership our communities and state require.”