Archive for Thursday, April 7, 2005

B-L voters elect board members

April 7, 2005

A late write-in candidacy wasn't enough for former Basehor-Linwood School Board member Don Kleoppel to defeat incumbent Position 5 representative Patrick Jeannin Tuesday night.

Kleoppel, who announced his candidacy two weeks before the general election, received 147 write-in votes. While his total provided a decent showing in the election, it wasn't nearly enough to overcome the insurmountable sum gained by Jeannin.

The incumbent received 1,489 votes and secured a second term as school board member.

Jeannin said he believed Tuesday's result indicates the public supports programs and policies that have begun under superintendent Jill Hackett's administration.

"I think the vote is probably a statement that (they) like what they're seeing," Jeannin said. "The car is driving in the general direction the public wants it to."

In a letter to The Sentinel announcing his candidacy, Kleoppel criticized the current school board and administrative team. He said the school board had "become stagnant and needs new perspectives and fresh ideas." As witnessed by his vote total Tuesday night, Kleoppel had a base of support that agreed with him.

Jeannin said the criticisms leveled at the board by his opponent are to be expected.

"I would probably say my primary reaction is anytime you're in a public position, there will be those that disagree with your position," he said. "I think the vote shows the position the Board of Education has taken is in general agreement with where the public wants to us to be headed."

Jeannin said his campaign plans didn't change much after Kleoppel entered the race. In fact, Jeannin said they didn't change at all. Other than speaking with a handful of potential voters, Jeannin did nothing to persuade to voters.

"I didn't campaign before and I didn't campaign after," he said. "My opinion has been the Board of Education is a philanthropic (organization) and the reason a person is on the Board of Education is to do what's best for kids.

"Kids are our greatest natural resource in the community. If I can help, that's really all I want to do."

High turnout propels Linwood man to board seat

The final returns in the race for Basehor-Linwood School Board Position 4 didn't find their way to candidate Gary Johnson Tuesday night. When news finally did reach Johnson Wednesday morning, he liked what he heard.

"I was pleasantly surprised," Johnson said. "I was shocked that many people turned out to vote. . . There was a darn good turnout."

Johnson defeated fellow Linwood resident Paul Smith Tuesday night, 983 to 791, and will replace incumbent Chris Claflin, who did not seek re-election, as Position 4 representative.

Johnson decided to run so he could help implement policies that improve test scores. Johnson said he had an inkling he might win Tuesday night, but that either he or Smith would have been good additions to the School Board.

"Paul Smith is a good candidate," Johnson said. "I have no problem with him. The district would have been well off with either of us winning.

"The bottom line is you've got to do what's best for the kids."

Results from a third bid for school board were not available as of press time Wednesday.

Randy Cunningham, a former school board vice president, is seeking a new term on the school board as Position 4 representative.

Mike Laffere, the current Position 4 representative, did not seek re-election.

Cunningham, 54, is the owner and broker of Re/Max All American Real Estate in Basehor.

County officials said because the race for Position 4 was uncontested, results would be made available after a vote canvass Friday.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.