Deadline near for applications to new Shawnee Mission finance and facilities committee

Board of Education President Brad Stratton first proposed the idea of the committee back in 2017.

The Shawnee Mission Board of Education is seeking applicants for a new committee that will review issues related to its financial position and facilities projects.

The new advisory group will be made up of nine people. Each of the seven members of the board of education will select one committee member to sit on the committee. The final spots will be filled by two members of the board.

The deadline to apply for the committee is Tuesday, Dec. 31. As of the week before Christmas, the district had only received seven applications for the committee. Patrons interested in being considered for the group can find an application on the district’s website here.

The parameters of how the committee will operate are still being established, said Shawnee Mission Chief Communications Officer David Smith. These include when the group will have its first meeting as well as how frequently it will meet. But, Smith said, the group will provide analysis and recommendations to the board on a host of issues related to where the district directs funding.

“The issues will be big-pictures related to decisions around district facilities and finances,” Smith said.

Board of Education President Brad Stratton first proposed the idea of introducing such a committee back in 2017. Stratton argued that since the disbanding of advisory committees organized around the feeder footprints of the district’s five traditional high schools back in 2004, the board had lost an important channel for tapping into the expertise and opinions of patrons.

“We have 140,000 patrons in this district,” Stratton said at the time. “I think we’re missing the opportunity to engage them.”

The district is in the process of considering whether to pursue a public vote on a new bond issue to fund another round of construction projects on school buildings and other facilities.