Hinson issues additional clarification on intent of form letters sent to legislators

Shawnee Mission Superintendent Jim Hinson at a press conference on the school funding issue ahead of the special session last month.
Shawnee Mission Superintendent Jim Hinson at a press conference on the school funding issue ahead of the special session last month.

As glossy campaign fliers continue to pile up in area mailboxes, Shawnee Mission School District Superintendent Jim Hinson has issued a fresh statement clarifying the intent of a form letter he sent to legislators after the vote to temporarily fix the school finance formula last month.

At the request of leaders from Game On for Kansas Schools, the northeast Johnson County-based public education advocacy group, Hinson issued the following:

“I mailed a letter to all members of the state delegation that represent the Shawnee Mission School District thanking them for voting for one specific bill. Any use of this letter to constitute an endorsement or support for individual election efforts of any candidate is inappropriate. My letter ONLY constituted a gesture of kindness from me for one vote, not for anything else. Any other use of the letter is taking the intent of my letter out of context, and is simply wrong.”

Both the Shawnee Mission and Blue Valley School Districts put out statements noting that the form letters should not be construed as endorsements after conservative legislators began using the letter — which was sent to every area representative who voted in favor of the bipartisan school funding fix — as part of their campaign materials.
Reps. Brett Hildabrand and Rob Bruchman, for example, have sent out mailers in recent weeks that featured an image of Hinson’s letter. Here’s a mailer from Bruchman, who is facing a challenge from Overland Park business consultant Jan Kessinger, that showed up in mailboxes last week:

Bruchman_State_Rep_Card

Conservatives Hildabrand and Bruchman are among the legislators pro-public education groups like Game On and Stand Up Blue Valley have targeted for replacement.