Shawnee Mission school board OKs patch plan keeping current president, vice president in place through at least January 2020

Shawnee Mission at-large board member Brad Stratton, who is running unopposed for reelection, will remain board president through at least January 2020.

The Shawnee Mission Board of Education on Monday approved a temporary plan to keep current leadership in place through at least January 2020. The move came in response to a Kansas law that went into effect this April, which injected some ambiguity into how school boards are to handle the election of their presidents and vice presidents heading into this coming school year.

Previous state law directed school boards to elect a president and vice president for the year during the organizational meeting held each July. But a new law put into effect this April now directs school boards to either elect those officers at the first meeting on or after the second Monday in January, or to at that time choose another date to elect the officers.

The new law, however, provided no guidance on how the election of school board officers was to be handled in the interim, with current board president Brad Stratton and vice president Heather Ousley’s one-year terms set to expire soon. On Monday, the Shawnee Mission School Board voted unanimously to extend the terms of Stratton and Ousley through at least January 2020. The board is expected to take up how and when it will hold officer elections moving forward at that point.

That meeting will take place shortly after at least two and possibly three new board members are seated following the November elections. Incumbents for two of the seats — Patty Mach, who represents the SM Northwest area; and Deb Zila, who represents the SM South area — are not running for reelection. SM North area representative Sara Goodburn is running for reelection, but is being challenged by two other candidates.

Stratton is running unopposed for another term in his at-large seat on the board.