Four school, city officials won’t seek re-election
It appears that at least two seats will be open on both the Tonganoxie city council and school board during the April election.
A check with the two council members and five board members whose seats are up for election next spring shows that four of those seven people don't plan to seek re-election. And while Mayor John Franiuk is contemplating giving up his seat, he's not made up his mind.
¢ Noon, Jan. 21: Filing deadline for city and school board races.
¢ Feb. 25: Primary Election, if needed.
¢ April 1: General Election.
¢ What's it cost: $5 to file for school board or city council.
¢ Where to file: City council candidates may file at Tonganoxie City Hall, 321 Delaware, or the Leavenworth County clerk's office in the courthouse, 300 Walnut, Leavenworth. School board candidates must file at the county clerk's office.
"I'm undecided whether I'm going to seek another term or not," Franiuk said.
Another Tonganoxie resident former Fire Chief Charlie Conrad confirmed he might be a candidate for mayor.
"I've been approached," he said. "It's something that takes time, and you need the time to make the proper effort. I have to put those ducks in order first. Hopefully, we'll see some people run for all of the positions."
The filing deadline for city council and school board seats is noon Jan. 21. Candidates for council may file at city hall or the county clerk's office at the courthouse in Leavenworth, while school board candidates must file at the county clerk's office.
If necessary, a primary election will be held Feb. 25, and the general election is set for April 1.
Two city council members whose seats are up for election say they don't plan to run.
"It's just a matter of the time it takes to do it," said Pat Albert, who's served on the council for six years. "I think there needs to be a changeover of people from time to time. I think public service is something that you give for awhile, and then you should let someone else have a shot at it."
And Cami Zimmerman, who was appointed in April to fill the unexpired term of Janet Angell, said she won't run for the seat.
"Probably more than anything, it's a time commitment with my family," said Zimmerman, the mother of a 2-year-old daughter and a 5-month-old son. "I'm a little bit overwhelmed. I've enjoyed doing it, and I've learned a lot. I'll let somebody who can give it more time a shot."
Zimmerman and Albert both encouraged others to seek a council seat.
"I really have enjoyed it, and I want to do what's best for Tonganoxie," Zimmerman said. "I hope there are some good people out there who would be interested."
While the five-member city council has two open seats, the seven-member school board has five open seats. Normally, four seats is the most that are up for challenge in any given election year. But because Phil Weide resigned from the school board earlier this year, his seat must be subjected to election, even though his term wouldn't have expired until 2005.
Kay Smith, who was appointed to Weide's seat, said she's interested in running for the two-year term. Smith, who teaches Family and Consumer Science at Leavenworth High School, took office on the Tonganoxie board in November.
"I probably will run," said Smith, who's taught for 19 years. "I've only been to two meetings. I've just started."
Two other board members say they're undecided about whether to seek re-election.
Dr. Richard Dean, a Tonganoxie optometrist, is an eight-year veteran of the board.
"I haven't really decided yet," he said. "I'm going to have to make that decision pretty quick. My wife and I need to talk it over."
And the Rev. Rick Lamb of Tonganoxie's West Haven Baptist Church said he, too, is undecided.
"My thought is if someone else wanted to do it and were doing it for a positive reason to further education and not have an ax to grind, I would willingly let them do it," Lamb said.
Two other school board members Ron Moore, who's served eight years, and Terry Needham, who's served four years say they won't seek re-election.
"My impression is that eight years is long enough," Moore said. "I'm sure there are many well-qualified and motivated people in the north district, and I would encourage them to step forward."
And Needham, whose three children will be in college next year, said she wants to spend more time with them.
"Next year, we have several trips planned, and my middle son will be traveling abroad and studying abroad, and I promised my parents I would take them," she said. "My kids are at the point where they are beyond the Tonganoxie schools, and they have many activities at the universities where they are."
She said the time she spent on the board was a valuable experience.
"I think this board has done tremendous things," Needham said. "I think we accomplished more than I envisioned. We worked really hard on curriculum. We've had limited funds to work with, yet I think we've accomplished a lot. We didn't go out there and add a lot of new programs that we couldn't potentially fund down the line."
In the future, the Tonganoxie school board faces some difficult issues, centering on money and space.
"We have older buildings, and they've been maintained, and we've done well with them," Needham said. "But with inclining enrollment, how long will they last? Probably not as long as taxpayers would like them to last."