Neighbor retains seat on SMSD school board; Roeland Park puts Marquardt in mayor’s office

Cindy Neighbor on Tuesday ensured new Shawnee Mission Superintendent Jim Hinson will be working with exactly the same school board that approved his appointment by defeating challenger Mark Read and retaining her seat.

Unofficial final results released by the Johnson County Election Office showed Neighbor with 8,307 votes, or 59.63 percent of the total. Read garnered 5,610 votes, or 40.27 percent.

Read in his campaign called for more transparency and a challenge to the status quo in a district that has faced school closures as a result of declining enrollment and strained finances. But Neighbor, who has held her seat for 16 years, argued that her experience gave her intimate knowledge of the district that would be crucial given the challenging circumstances.

New Roeland Park Mayor Joel Marquardt

In Roeland Park, voters sent architect Joel Marquardt to the mayor’s office, where he will replace Adrienne Foster, who did not emerge from the February primary in her quest for re-election. Marquardt defeated Linda Mau in the general election Tuesday 824-342.

In Fairway, Melanie Hepperly easily retained her Ward 1 seat on the city council (her challenger informed the city he wished to withdraw from the race in early February), while incumbent Ky Weekley fell to challenger Michael Staley in a Ward 2 race. In Ward 4, Tanya Keys defeated Anthony Kimberly.

Fairway Mayor Jerry Wiley and Mission Hills Mayor Rick Boeshaar also earned re-election. Neither faced a challenger.

UPDATED: Here’s the message Read sent to supporters via his Facebook page:

I am disappointed in the result tonight, but I am extremely proud of the monumental effort given by my supporters. 5,600 voters agreed that we could do better as a district, but that was not sufficient in the end. No excuses, I just did not get the job done.

I congratulate Mrs. Neighbor. She has put her name on the line many a time running as a KS House Rep and as a SM board member. I believe she has the best interests of the district at heart, and I support her efforts in addressing the educational challenges we are facing while she works with our new superintendent.