Eight candidates will be on the ballot this year in the race for the Lansing Board of Education. The election will be Nov. 7.

Updated 4:56 p.m. Nov. 2 — The Times did not receive answers from Garrett Martin by the original story deadline. But his answers have been added to this online version.

Eight candidates will be on the ballot this year in the race for the Lansing Board of Education. The election will be Nov. 7.

The candidates are vying for three seats on the board. Members of the Lansing school board are elected at-large rather than by wards or districts. This means each candidate can reside anywhere in the city.

 

The candidates:

 

John D. Dalbey Sr.
Age: 50
Occupation: Army officer (will retire from the Army on Sept. 30, 2018)
Political experience: None

 

John Hattok
Occupation: College professor
Political experience: Leavenworth planning and zoning board (1994-2004)

 

Rich Hauver
Age: 56
Occupation: Regional sales manager
Political experience: Lansing USD 469 board member for 11 years

 

Garrett Martin
No photograph provided
Age: 50
Occupation: Defense contractor
Political experience: Lansing Parks and Recreation Board since 2011, currently the board's chairman

 

Mark E. McKnight

Age: 56

Occupation: Deputy director of the School for Command Preparation, Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth

Political experience: None

 

Beth Stevenson
Age: 53
Occupation: Licensed clinical social worker
Political experience: I have been honored to serve on the Lansing Board of Education since 2005

 

Dr. Richard E. Whitlow
Age: 58
Occupation: Internal medicine physician
Political experience: Served on the Lansing Board of Education for the past 12 years or so

 

Jacob T. Will
Age: 33
Occupation: Shift chemist/operator for Kansas City Power & Light at Iatan Generating Station
Political experience: First time running for political office

 

1. Why are you running for the Lansing Board of Education?

 

Dalbey: I am running for the BOE as an answer to a calling. I have been a servant to the nation for 30 years and it is my duty to continue my service to my community. As a member of the BOE, I will be able to combine my passions for service, leadership and children to ensure that our children are as prepared as possible for their lives after high school.

 

Hattok: To bring honesty and accountability back to the board.

 

Hauver: Our school system is the bedrock of our community. I am passionate about bringing people together to plug into solutions that will strengthen our school system and improve opportunity for all children because our community’s well-being – our region’s prosperity – depends upon this. I am committed to listening first, to leading thoughtfully and respectfully, and to building strong partnerships to find the best solutions for our children.

Martin:I feel like Lansing needs new people on the board to guide Lansing and work with the new superintendent, ensuring that our children are getting the most quality education that they can get. I want to work to improve communication between the school board, schools and the parents.


McKnight: I am seeking an opportunity to serve the Lansing community in an area I believe is very important both for the future of the students and families within USD 469 but also the greater Lansing community. I firmly believe USD 469 is one of our centers of gravity for the future of the Lansing community.

 

Stevenson: Education provides children the gateway to successfully reach their dreams. It is among the most important things we do as a society for our children. I am running for the Lansing Board of Education because I believe every child deserves an excellent educational foundation. It is an honor to serve our students, their parents and the community.

 

Whitlow: I think public service is important as the future of public education is in question with the current political climate. This is not a job with a personal agenda. Expect the success of every child in our district. Despite a good standing among Kansas districts, we can do better for our students and I’m interested in being a part of that process.

 

Will: I believe that the school district is not performing to its potential in the education of its students and recent budgetary issues that parents have been made aware of motivated me to get more involved with the school district. My goal is to work to drive the school district back to being the best performing school district in the area and give the taxpayers the best possible product of their money.

 

2. What qualifications or experiences do you feel have prepared you for a position on the school board?

 

Dalbey: As an Army officer, I have been formally trained to lead, plan, solve problems, execute the solution and assess the results. During my 30 years of service, I have been blessed to be able to formally teach those skills as an instructor for seven years. I have successfully managed resources (human, financial, time and material) and taught others how to do so as well.

 

Hattok: With 26 years teaching experience, I have a vast knowledge of the workings of schools.

 

Hauver: Every action we have taken since being elected a decade ago has been driven by one belief – the children in our community can learn and want to learn. It is up to us, the adults, to give them the best opportunity.

Martin:Will complete my doctorate in education-leadership and administration either this December or in the spring 2018, depending on the school's review of my final dissertation products. I have served on the Lansing Parks and Recreation board for the last seven years and was on the Lansing Middle School site council for five years. I was one of the founders and board members for the Pottawattamie and Wabaunsee counties Big Brothers and Big sisters program.


McKnight: I have over 34 years of combined military and civilian federal service during which I have held numerous leadership, academic and administrative positions, including teaching, curriculum development, faculty development, budget development/execution and contract supervision responsibilities.

 

Stevenson: I have been volunteering in Lansing schools since the 1990s. I began as a room mother, then joined the PTA, the middle and high school site councils, and have been on the Lansing school board since 2005. At every level of service I have invested the time and energy to give my very best to serve our schools.

 

Whitlow: Our board provides educational opportunities and experiences for youth by prioritizing the budget and supervising our district leadership team. I’m well qualified to do this with my years of experience in hospital leadership roles as well as a master’s in health care quality and safety which has given me insight.

 

Will: I have spent the last several years volunteering in the schools as a parent in the classrooms. I have also served on the elementary school site council the last two years. I have a background as a scientist and a blue collar worker which gives me a unique perspective on the importance of education and prioritizing issues and spending accordingly.

 

3. What do you feel are the most important issues facing the Lansing public schools?

 

Dalbey: Culture. Many teachers that I have talked to feel that they have no voice in their building. Many parents feel that they have no voice in the district and are unhappy with the lack of detailed and timely communication. Resources. We still face significant financial and facility challenges. Now is the time to be creative and find ways to meet the needs of the children and the teachers.

 

Hattok: The biggest issue I feel is the reserve funds that were spent by the present board. We were not able to give raises to our faculty and staff this year because the board has spent over $7 million of reserve funding. We now want to open the old middle school to house part of the elementary school to reduce overcrowding, but we cannot because we do not have a reserve fund.

 

Hauver: It is imperative that every child who walks through the door at any Lansing school receives a quality education. A few of the areas that will be of top priority: The ongoing school funding case has created uncertainty in regard to budget planning and district operations, moving two elementary grades into the former middle school will require new operating costs and one-time capital costs, and aligning curriculum to state standards and meeting accreditation requirements.

 

Martin:Top three are improvement of communication in the school district, improvement of our financial situation and better oversight by the school board.

McKnight: The balancing and alignment of adequate resource streams needed to ensure the future developmental requirements (facilities, faculty, staff, curriculum) of our Lansing schools are achieved.


Stevenson: The biggest issues facing any district are ongoing enhancement of college and career readiness and curriculum development. High standards along with a guaranteed and viable curriculum help our teachers to continue providing the excellent education that Lansing is known for.

 

Whitlow: Money and state assessments. The Kansas budget always seems to be in flux and we never seem to know how much we’ll get or when they’ll take more away. Superintendent Darrel Stufflebeam has done an excellent job of placing us in a good financial position after 2015. The new Kansas assessment, KESA, creates change the likes of which education has not seen before. Ensuring we demonstrate our success in this new measurement era is important.

 

Will: The number one priority for me is to improve the education of the students so that each student has a realistic chance of reaching their potential. Another issue that the school district needs to address is Lansing school growth. Classroom size is significantly larger than what’s ideal in some grades. Lastly, the budget is an ongoing struggle and fiduciary efficiency is of paramount importance.