Your JCCC Board of Trustees election primer

Candidates running for JCCC Board of Trustees participated in our forum on campus earlier this month.

Advance voting in person began Monday, Oct. 28 in Johnson County and Election Day is Tuesday, Nov 5. As residents start heading to the polls to cast their ballots for the Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees and other races, we’re putting together our election primers to give people an easy way to find out where the candidates stand on the issues.

SHAMELESS PLUG: No other news outlet devotes as much attention to giving Shawnee Mission area voters a way to find out where candidates running for local office stand on the issues facing our community. If you value having a news outlet provide this kind of coverage, we hope you’ll consider becoming a subscriber if you aren’t already.

Who’s on the ballot

Three of the seven at-large seats on the board are up in this year’s cycle. The six candidates who garnered the most votes in this summer’s primary are on the general election ballot, and voters may cast votes for up to three candidates. You can look up your sample ballot via the Johnson County Election Office here.

The candidates are listed below. We’ve linked to their campaign websites where possible

Candidate Questionnaires

Earlier this month, we published the candidates’ responses to the questionnaires we developed with input from our readers. You can find each of the five questionnaire items linked below:

Question 1: JCCC is a major operation, with an annual budget of more than $150 million and a staff of more than 1,500 employees. What professional experiences would you bring to the role of trustee that make you qualified to guide such a large organization? Read the answers here.

Question 2: One of a community college’s goals is to prepare students for a rapidly evolving job market and to ensure area businesses have access to employees with the skills they need. Do you believe there any gaps between JCCC’s current offerings and the needs of the Johnson County community? If so, what are they and how should the college address them? Read the answers here.

Question 3: Property valuations have been going up across Johnson County in recent years — which means that taxing entities have seen tax revenues they receive from local residents rising as well. What’s your philosophy on setting property tax rates when property values go up? Should the board be looking to reduce the mill levy in such situations? Read the answers here.

Question 4: There has been a push among some in Johnson County to increase access to community college by reducing the cost to students. Are you in favor of significantly reducing tuition or making JCCC tuition free? If so how would the budget gap from reduced tuition revenue be made up? Read the answers here.

Question 5: Johnson County Community College is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and has been widely recognized as vital asset to the county over its first half century. What do you believe the keys to continued success over the college’s second 50 years will be — and what does “success” for a community college look like to you? Read the answers here.

Candidate forums

Earlier this month, we hosted an in-person forum for the JCCC Board of Trustees candidates. (Note: Ingram was not able to attend the forum because of a previous commitment to present at a conference on behalf of the college). You can watch the video of the forum below. Topics covered during the forum are noted with time codes below.

JCCC Board of Trustees candidate forum

From left to right the candidates are: Lori Bell; Colleen Cunningham; Jameia Haines; Greg Musil (incumbent); Laura Smith-Everett.

  • What do you want to be able to say about JCCC four years from now that you can’t say today? Discussion starts at 10:40.
  • How will you ensure that you’re getting input from a variety of stakeholders and acting independently from other trustees? Discussion starts at 21:00.
  • Are junior college sports programs a good use of taxpayer money? Discussion starts at 30:45.
  • What are your thoughts on the idea of not charging tuition for community college classes? How would such an initiative be funded? Discussion starts at 40:45.
  • What do you think is at the root of tensions between the administration and faculty? What should be done to address them? Discussion starts at 49:15.
  • Should seats on the JCCC Board of Trustees continue to be non-partisan? Discussion starts at 1:00:30.