Two more board candidates file
Last week, two more area residents filed to run for Tonganoxie school board positions.
Rex Hutton is running for Position No. 2, and Patti Bitler has filed for the Position No. 3 seat.
Currently, Position No. 2 is held by Ron Moore, who does not plan to seek re-election. And Position No. 3 is held by Leana Leslie, who has filed to run for re-election.
Hutton has lived in Tonganoxie since 1975. He's retired from a career as a journeyman power lineman. He is a former Marine. And, for nearly 30 years, Hutton has taught tae kwon do in Tonganoxie.
Hutton and his wife, Rita, have 11 grandchildren who attend Tonganoxie schools. Rita Hutton is on the district's custodial staff.
"I believe that government should have checks and balances and I think we need to get involved," the 60-year-old Hutton said.
According to Hutton there are problems with the school district.
"I think that taxpayers need representation," Hutton said. "... This is a democratic county. They need board members to speak up."
Hutton said board members don't adequately address concerns of the school's classified employees.
"I have only one vote but I'm a people person," Hutton said. "I will address the problems."
Patti Bitler and her husband, Scott, have a son, Doug Emerson, who attends high school in Tonganoxie, as well as 4-year-old son, Adam, who will start kindergarten in the fall. And the couple has a 14-year-old daughter, Ashley, who lives in Lee's Summit, Mo.
Bitler said she keeps up on school news.
"I think the school is doing a good job," said Bitler, who first moved to Tonganoxie in 1996. "I think a few things need to finessed out. Nothing really specific, just little things."
The Bitlers' older son is physically handicapped. And Bitler said the school district has been great to him.
"The junior high last year bought my son a golf cart," Bitler said. "I had just asked if my son would be late getting across campus. I was so impressed."
Bitler also said she's impressed with the high school as well as the elementary school.
She said she sees growth as the biggest challenge the district faces.
"I'm concerned about how we're going to accommodate double the amount of students in a few more years," Bitler said. "I think the growth of the district is something that the locals did not foresee growing this big this quickly."
Others who are running for school board include:
- Position No. 1, incumbent Diane Truesdell and Alan Theno.
- At-large, Mildred McMillon and Francie Campbell.
The filing deadline is noon Jan. 23, and the general election will be April 3. The Jan. 23 filing deadline also applies to two city council seats -- those held by Velda Roberts and Ron Cranor -- and the mayor's seat.
No one has filed for election to the council or the mayor's post.