Nearly three months after indicating that she planned to seek a sixth term in office, Shawnee Mission Board of Education at-large member Cindy Neighbor late last week filed her official paperwork with the Johnson County Election Office.
“I believe there are a lot of issues and projects to complete, but this will be my last time to seek this office on the board,” Neighbor said.
The incumbent will face at least two challengers this cycle, with Kansas Families for Education lobbyist Brian Koon and former district bond and capital improvements supervisor Chris White having announced bids for the seat as well. Under current Kansas law, however, there won’t be a primary for the seat unless a fourth candidate files. While races for municipal office have primaries triggered by a field of three or more candidates, races for school boards don’t have a primary unless there are four or more candidates.
Should no one else file to run, Neighbor, Koon and White would all appear on the November ballot, with the candidate who earns the most votes taking the seat.
Shawnee Mission School Board races, which haven’t attracted many candidates in recent cycles, have taken on heightened significance this year in the wake of Superintendent Jim Hinson’s abrupt retirement announcement. The candidates who prevail in November’s election will be seated in January, giving them the opportunity to play a significant role in the hiring of Hinson’s full time replacement.
Shawnee Mission Area Council PTA legislative co-chair Mary Sinclair on Friday filed in the election for the SM East area seat on the board, which has been occupied by Donna Bysfield since 1993, setting up the first contested election for that seat in more than two decades. At present, no candidate has filed to challenge SM West area incumbent Craig Denny.