There are two competitive races for the Basehor-Linwood Board of Education this year.

There are two competitive races for the Basehor-Linwood Board of Education this year.

Most members of the Basehor-Linwood board represent only a portion of the school district. Richard Zamora is running for re-election to the board’s Position 5, which represents the center of the school district. He is facing Tim Hill in the Nov. 7 general election.

Spencer Fritz is running for re-election to Position 6, which represents a southern portion of the district. He is facing Mike Stieben in the general election.

These four candidates responded to questions submitted by the Leavenworth Times.

A fifth candidate, Shelly Stevens, is running unopposed as she seeks re-election to the board’s Position 4, which represents a northern section of the district.

 

The candidates:

 

Position 5

 

Tim Hill

Age: 44

Occupation: Pipefitter – General Motors

Political experience: No previous experience

 

Richard J. Zamora Jr.

Age: 47

Occupation: Attorney

Political experience: Eight years as a Basehor-Linwood USD 458 school board member

 

Position 6

 

Spencer Fritz

Age: 41

Occupation: American Dish Service for 23 years. My title is assistant plant manager.

Political experience: Four years on the Basehor-Linwood Board of Education and was on the Linwood Recreation Committee and voted to be its president.

 

Mike Stieben

Age: 49

Occupation: Locomotive engineer

Political experience: Precinct committeeman for Sherman Township, chairman of Rural Water District No. 13 for two terms, currently the Sherman Township clerk

 

Why are you running for the Basehor-Linwood Board of Education?

 

Hill: I am running for the Basehor-Linwood Board of Education because I am a person that likes to be involved. I grew up in Basehor and I am a graduate of Basehor-Linwood High School. I want to get involved to give back to the community that helped to raise me. I have a vested interest, too, because I have two sons that attend schools in the district.

 

Zamora: I am running for the school board because the district is continuing to grow and I believe that my experience on the board over the past eight years is best suited to help facilitate that growth.

 

Fritz: I have been a resident of Linwood for the last 20 years, and my son will attend here until he graduates in 2021. I feel like Basehor-Linwood is on a great path that was started with a 2015 bond issue, so much so that surrounding districts are playing catch up, and I want to continue to be a part of our growth over the next few years.

 

Stieben: As a father of three daughters currently enrolled in USD 458, I want to bring a vision for forward looking educational opportunities for all our students. Education is the gateway to the future for every child. We must make certain our kids are given the opportunity to succeed in an ever-changing world. I am willing to take an active role in facing the ongoing challenges of educating our children.

 

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

 

Hill: I am very involved in community activities. As part of my job at General Motors, I am a trainer for various safety classes, including CPR. I am also on the building committee for renovating the UAW Union Hall. I have presented at area job fairs so kids could see various options after high school. I was also the coordinator for WATCH D.O.G.S., which promotes father involvement within the schools, at Glenwood Ridge Elementary. I have coached many youth sports teams.

 

Zamora: As an attorney, my experience in the area of tax and finance has helped me understand many complex issues that the district has faced. Prior to being an attorney, I worked as a computer instructor for the Boys and Girls Clubs in Boston and for the Bonner Springs school district. I am well versed in how technology can be integrated into the classroom.

 

Fritz: I was president of the Linwood Elementary Parent Teacher Committee for two years before serving these last four years on the Basehor-Linwood Board of Education. I sit on the welding advisory board for KCK AVTS, and am also an the assistant plant manager at a manufacturing company where I have 140 employees that work for me. All of these positions have helped me to understand the dynamic of dealing with a lot of people.

 

Stieben: My varied experiences make me uniquely qualified as a school board member. Foremost, I am a dad. I have lived with teachers or a teacher all my life. My dad was a teacher and football coach and became a principal and superintendent. My mother was a teacher and guidance counselor. My wife taught in Genesis Christian Academy in Tonganoxie for over 10 years. I have done substitute teaching because I enjoy mentoring young people.

 

3. What do you feel are the most important issues facing the Basehor-Linwood public schools?

 

Hill: There are many important issues facing the Basehor-Linwood schools. First among these is the rapid rate in which we are growing. This impacts not only our community, but directly our class sizes, hiring enough teachers and continuing to stay competitive with our salary schedule. Another important issue is for our district to stay focused on the four areas outlined by the district’s Strategic Plan. It includes Student Pathway Success, Unity, Technology, and Growth & Equity.

 

Zamora: Over the past eight years, I have overseen the opening of two new schools, two major additions to the high school and renovations to all of our elementary schools. Basehor-Linwood is growing fast. This rapid growth is the most pressing issue the district faces. I feel that my experience on the board makes me the most qualified and prepared candidate to help lead the district as it grows.

 

Fritz: Population boom. With the many housing developments going up in our area, we are going to need more space for our students in the near future, as well as teachers, school buses, etc. Growth is going to be the biggest issue our district will face over the next four years.

 

Stieben: The state budget is always of major concern. The greatest challenge is getting the money where it most benefits the students. The American taxpayer contributes more than any other nation for education, however our students rank very low on test scores compared to other nations. We need to look at curriculum to understand why our kids can’t adequately compete.