Memo shows Johnson pulled Mission Valley closure vote for lack of support

Superintendent Gene Johnson

A memo from Shawnee Mission School District Superintendent Gene Johnson to members of the Board of Education shows Johnson removed proposals to close Antioch and Mission Valley middle schools because he’d been informed the votes weren’t there to approve them.

Johnson had told the audience at the Nov. 8 board meeting he was requesting the proposals be removed from the agenda “until which time a study is completed to determine a scope of upgrades that would be applicable to district middle schools.”

But in a memo to the school board sent three days after that meeting, Johnson wrote:

I am very disappointed that we were not able to make a decision on the middle schools or move the Brookwood boundary. As you know, it came to my attention on Monday morning that the votes were not there to close Antioch and Indian Hills [sic]. I didn’t want negative votes at the meeting and that’s why I removed recommendations one and two from the agenda.

Page 2 of the memo. Click to enlarge.

Page 1 of the memo. Click to enlarge.

The proposals to close Mission Valley and Antioch were reintroduced at the Dec. 13 meeting, and the board voted 5-2 to close Mission Valley.

Assistant Superintendent for Communications Leigh Anne Neal said Monday that Johnson had no comment on the memo, which was obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request. Click on the thumbnails to the right to read the full text.

Johnson goes on to outline his belief that closing Mission Valley and Antioch would save the district much needed funds as it faced a dire budget situation. He also emphasizes the importance of having balanced high school enrollment.

Johnson closed the memo:

As you all know, I have tremendous respect for all of you. You are my friends and we are a team — A Team of Eight! As your superintendent, I want to be sure I’m honest with you and you know how I feel and what I believe about issues. I feel strongly about Brookwood, Antioch, and Indian Hills. I know as a team, we will move forward and address the issues that need to be addressed. Thank you for taking on one of the toughest volunteer jobs in the country.