There are two competitive races for the Easton Board of Education this year.

There are two competitive races for the Easton Board of Education this year.

The election will be Nov. 7.

Incumbent John T. McEvoy is facing Dawn Weston in the race for the board’s Position 6, which represents a northeast portion of the school district.

In a race to fill a vacant seat, former board member Jerry C. Barnes is facing Oscar L. Miller. They are running for the board’s Position 4, which represents a northwest portion of the district.

The four candidates in the two competitive races responded to questions submitted by the Leavenworth Times.

A fifth candidate, Kim Sachse, is running unopposed for the board’s Position 5, which represents a southern section of the district.

 

 

The candidates:

 

Position 4:

 

Jerry C. Barnes

Age: 65

Occupation: Retired from Department of Corrections in Lansing after 43 years. Currently a beef cattle farmer.

Political experience: Easton USD 449 school board member for 12 years, Rural Water District No. 6 board member for two years

 

Oscar L. Miller

Age: 64

Occupation: Simulations systems integration analyst/engineer

Political experience: Not provided

 

Position 6:

 

John T. McEvoy

Age: 34

Occupation: Patrol corporal with the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office

Political experience: Currently an Easton school board member

 

Dawn Weston

Occupation: Quality assurance, United States Army

Political experience: Not provided

 

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

 

Barnes: My interest in being a school board member is no different than it was in my first tenure of being on the school board. I want to do whatever I can to help make the district the best it can be for our students and taxpayers as well.

 

Miller: There is a vacancy and I thought I could bring a new perspective to the school board. I have lived in different communities and countries and saw those education systems in action. I hope to bring that experience to USD 449.

 

McEvoy: I have a passion for community service and I want to continue my service to the school district as a board member. I do not think anyone would argue that our children are our future. I want to continue on the board of education, working with administrators, teachers and parents to provide the best future for our children that we can.

 

Weston: I am running for the Easton school board in order to give back to the school district from which both of my sons graduated. I believe students should have the tools conducive to learning, that teachers should have the necessary support to succeed in their positions, and that we should have an environment that sets all stakeholders in USD 449 up for success.

 

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

 

Barnes: I bring to the board 12 years of school board experience. I held the vice president position for three years and was president of the board for five years. I was on the board bond committee for the new elementary school and was also on the board construction committee for the project.

 

Miller: As I stated above, I have seen numerous education systems and would like to offer that experience to the school board. This should offer a fresh perspective to the challenges faced by this school system. During my military and civilian career, I have held numerous leadership and supervisory positions. I have worked with many different people in their home countries and learned their viewpoints.

 

McEvoy: I have always given all I could to my community, whether school board, Kickapoo Township Fire Department, Sheriff’s Office, Easton Youth Association and many other community events. Our school board oversees all aspects of the district from education to security. I bring experience in maintenance, security and planning to the board. As a supervisor in both the Sheriff’s Office and the Fire Department I have led and trained multiple employees.

 

Weston: I hold a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a minor in secondary education from Benedictine College, a master’s of educational administration degree from Benedictine College and a doctoral degree in educational leadership from Kansas State University. I taught high school mathematics and was a sixth- to 12th-grade level principal. Currently I work at the Command and General Staff College as an educator, evaluator and researcher.

 

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

 

Barnes: School finances – the inconsistency of the state in funding schools from year to year makes it very difficult to build a budget or have a three- to five-year capital improvement plan in place. Technology is a never-ending process keeping up to date. Lower enrollment over the past few years.

 

Miller: Preparing students for life after school is the purpose of our public school system. As a parent, my goal is to elevate our students’ readiness for adulthood and the challenges they will face going forward. I believe that foundational skills such as rational decision making, personal finance and basic life skills are critical for a student’s growth outside the classroom and beyond high school.

 

McEvoy: Obviously, our school funding problem is causing many issues. I believe we need to be doing everything we possibly can to place our kids in position to be productive members of society. With the understanding that not all kids will go to college, the Easton schools have done a great job giving children opportunities in other areas. With the funding issues, I believe the most important issue we will face is keeping all the extracurricular opportunities we currently offer.

 

Weston: I feel that the most important issue facing the Easton public schools is that we can do better as a school board when it comes to the oversight of spending our budget responsibly by making sure that students will end up getting a better education with all decisions that are made. We also need to make sure that the students are given the best opportunity to succeed after receiving their diplomas. Thus we should place a greater focus on STEM fields.