Chris White to withdraw from at-large school board race, refile as candidate for SM West seat

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Chris White, the former bond and capital improvements supervisor for the Shawnee Mission School District who filed to run for the at-large seat on the board of education last month, is shifting races.

Chris White is running for the at-large seat on the Shawnee Mission School Board.
Chris White will now run for the SM West seat on the Shawnee Mission School Board.

White told the Shawnee Mission Post he was heading to the Johnson County Election Office this morning to withdraw his name from the at-large race and file as a candidate for the SM West area seat currently held by Craig Denny.

The decision comes after White considered the recently announced candidacy of Heather Ousely in the at-large race, and the decision of Brian Koon to step out of that race as a result. White said he agreed with Koon that Ousely was a quality candidate for the seat, and that he did not want to challenge her.

“I talked to Heather and I thought about it a lot, and it’s clear to me that she has the appropriate passion for the job and would be a very good influence on the school district,” White said.

However, White continues to believe his experience and skill set would be of value on the board, and will consequently file as a candidate for the SM West area seat. He has lived at his home in the school’s feeder pattern since 1988.

Denny, who currently serves as the vice president on the board and has been in his seat since 1997, filed for reelection in February. He was unopposed during his last two runs in 2009 and 2013, but faced a test in 2005 when he edged challenger Jennifer Morris 52-47.

With White’s move to the SM West area race, challengers have now filed to run against the incumbents in all three races that will be on the November ballot.

In the SM East area, Shawnee Mission Area Council PTA legislative co-chair Mary Sinclair and retiring SM East science teacher James Lockard have filed to run against 24-year incumbent Donna Bysfield, who is seeking a seventh term.

Ousely is challenging incumbent Cindy Neighbor, who has been on the board since 1997. Neighbor also serves as a member of the Kansas House of Representatives,