Archive for Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Two newcomers file for Basehor-Linwood school board seats

Jeane Redmond hoping to bridge divides in district

January 3, 2007

While Jeane Redmond's thought about running for the Basehor-Linwood school board in the past, the timing was never right.

But, this year she decided to give it a try.

"Several people approached me about it and I thought this was the time," Redmond, 43, said about making the decision to run for position No. 1, which is currently vacant. The seat had been held by Danny Dearinger, who resigned last spring.

Redmond is one of four candidates who have filed for school board elections, which will be April 3. The filing deadline is noon Jan. 23. So far, Redmond is running unopposed for position No. 1. Incumbent school board members Dayna Miller and Doug Bittel have filed for position Nos. 2 and 7 respectively. Newcomer Leigh Farris has also filed for position No. 7.

Redmond has two daughters -- a seventh-grader and a sophomore -- in the district. She said one of the biggest problems facing the district right now is a divided community.

"I would like to get the community more bonded when it comes to school issues," she said. "We seem to be divided by people who have children in the district and people who don't."

Redmond, who has a degree in agricultural economics from Oklahoma State University, a master's degree from Kansas State University and currently manages farms and ranches for Bank of America in Kansas City, has been a Basehor resident for 17 years. After witnessing all of the failed bond issues in the district, she said she believes that with the experience gained through her daily job, she could help the board find a solution to the bond issue dilemma.

"I want to bring my analytical skills and my desire to find the best solution to try to make everybody happy," Redmond said. "You can't always please everybody, but nine times out of 10 there is a good compromise that can be satisfactory to both parties. My people skills and management skills, I hope, would lend itself well to the school board."

As an active Booster Club parent at both the middle school and the high school, Redmond said she also would like to focus on teachers in the district.

"We have a great group of teachers," she said. "I don't think we realize how fortunate we are to have such dedicated teachers. We need to make sure we're taking care of our teaching resources. They are the key to our future."

Ultimately, Redmond said her willingness to listen to people and her love for the community would bring a positive element to the school board.

"Really, I don't have a set agenda and I think that's a positive thing," she said. "I want to give back to the community that has given us a great place to live."

Leigh Farris wants to foster 'small-town feel'

A position on the Basehor-Linwood school board will be a new experience for Leigh Farris if she's elected.

But she said she's ready for the challenge.

Her two daughters, who are currently taking classes through the Basehor-Linwood Virtual School, influenced her decision to run.

"I've been active with the school, but not with the board," she said. "I've always been involved with their (her daughters') education."

Farris, 41, is running for the at-large position along with incumbent board member Doug Bittel. Board member Dayna Miller also has filed for position No. 2 and newcomer Jeane Redmond has filed for position No. 1, which is vacant. The filing deadline is noon Jan. 23, and the general election is April 3.

A former emergency medical technician and Kansas City, Mo., police officer, Farris said her family moved to Basehor about six years ago from western Shawnee to enjoy less traffic, more room and a smaller community. She said one of her goals, if elected, would be to try to keep Basehor a close-knit community as it grows.

"With the growing community, my goal would be to keep the family values," she said. "I just want to keep that closeness within the school, that small-town feel."

Farris has also been home-schooling her daughters since they moved to Basehor, through the help of the Virtual School. She said the program has been an asset to her daughters' education and she would like to support the program as a school board member.

"I love the virtual program," she said. "I promote it every chance I get. It's an awesome program and they've been an awesome school district to work with."

As for the bond issue, Farris said she agreed that the district needs more buildings, especially a middle school.

"We need more room," she said. "The population is coming this way."

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