Greetings from Southeast Kansas to my fellow school board members. The long, hot summer drags on here as in the rest of Kansas, in more ways than one. After a good wheat harvest the heat is taking a huge toll on the crops remaining in the fields and many folk’s mental state. I know I am sick of it and July is just ending!
In addition, the heat is only rising statewide in this primary election season. The voter registration deadline has passed and advance ballots are available now. Registered voters are already receiving a barrage of mailings from not only the candidates but also a number of outside groups who are intent on having an impact on the races around the state. These mailings will only intensify and soon the calls will start. Yard sign fatigue set in some time ago.
As you are aware, KASB does not endorse specific candidates. Our excellent research and advocacy staff have made available the voting records of all incumbent legislators for you to consider and decide for yourself who you want to support. (Available at www.kasb.org.) There are, however, a number of new candidates this year who have never been in public office before. These candidates have no voting record, yet many are being heartily endorsed by various outside groups and even other elected officials.
I often ask myself how a group or official can endorse someone with no known record. Is there some sort of secret agenda or loyalty pledge that such a candidate has made to the written or unwritten goals of the organization or official? Every chance I get I am asking these new candidates exactly what their relationship is with any organization or elected official that endorses them. I encourage you to do the same.
Many races around the state will be decided in the primary. The bottom line is that on August 8, 2012, Kansas will wake up to a new political reality. There may be more legislators who are considered conservative or there may be more who are considered moderate. People from both factions have said that this election will be one of the most important in Kansas history. I tend to agree with that assessment. Regardless of your position on which candidates to support, the critical aspect of this election is that you GET OUT AND VOTE! There is no more important duty as a citizen of this state and nation.
No matter how the election turns out, KASB will continue to work with the elected officials as best we can. We will continue to fight for a seat at the table, even if those around us have a different view towards public education. We will continue to look for as much common ground as may exist. We will continue to support the policy and direction given to us by you at the Delegate Assembly. Regardless of how favorably or unfavorably we are received, we will never quit trying to advance and protect the interests of all kids in Kansas public schools. From Elkhart to Hiawatha and Goodland to Baxter Springs, we will continue to work for you, our membership. Regardless if you represent a large district like Wichita or a small district like Altoona-Midway, KASB will continue to advocate for issues that are important to all districts.
As we rapidly approach the beginning of a new school year, on behalf of the staff, board, and officers of KASB, I wish everyone a successful 2012-13 school year. If there is anything that I or KASB can do to assist you or your district, please feel free to let us know.