Former supervisor of Shawnee Mission capital improvements files to run for at-large seat on board of education

Jay Senter - April 17, 2017 11:55 am
Chris White is running for the at-large seat on the Shawnee Mission School Board.
Chris White is running for the at-large seat on the Shawnee Mission School Board.

Chris White, a retired architect and engineer who worked as the bond and capital improvements supervisor for the district for a decade, has filed in the race for the at-large position on the Shawnee Mission Board of Education currently held by Cindy Neighbor.

White is the second candidate to formally file for the seat. Brian Koon, who recently stepped back from his role as a lobbyist for Kansas Families for Education, announced he was running in late March. While Neighbor announced in February that she intended to seek a sixth term in office, the county election office shows she has not formally submitted her paperwork.

White said he was compelled to seek the seat by a desire to build consensus among the board and “present a positive approach” to issues facing the district. He said that he believes the district could to do a better job communicating the rationale for some of the decisions it’s made in recent years, from changes to its library programs to spending on infrastructure, and wanted to work to restore a feeling of trust between the district and its patrons.

“How do we make these decisions for the kids? The bottom line is that the decisions have to be made for the best interests of our kids for the future,” White said. “They need to have more forums. Bring the board out and let the community ask them its questions.”

He also said he was concerned about the financial issues facing the district, and believed the district need to take a hard look at its reserve funding, as well as its capacity for future bond issues.

White has lived at his home in Overland Park in the Shawnee Mission West area since 1988, he said he believes his longevity in the area and deep experience with school facilities would make him an asset to the board. As an architect, he was intimately involved in the design and construction of a number of metro area schools, including the construction of Blue Valley Northwest and its adjacent athletic complex in the late 1980s and the renovation of Shawnee Mission West in the mid-1990s. He worked for the Shawnee Mission School District from 2004 to 2014.

White and his wife do not have children, but he said his own experience in Kansas public schools — he grew up in Winfield — as well as his experience working for the district and on efforts to support the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation made him a passionate booster for local schools.

“I am a product of public school education, and I’ve had a good life because of it,” he said. “And I want other kids to have that. It’s a passion.”

At forum, Rooker says Supreme Court ruling shows ‘that money in fact, does matter’ in school outcomes

At a legislative forum Thursday night, area lawmakers with positions on the state’s education committees offered starkly different views on the meaning of the

Kansas Supreme Court rules K-12 funding inadequate

The Kansas Supreme Court on Thursday issued the long-awaited ruling in the Gannon school funding case, a unanimous decision finding that the state’s K-12

Sixth graders at Roesland Elementary apply science lessons to create their own musical

Watch out “Hamilton,” there’s a new hip-hop musical taking flight at Roesland Elementary School that updates old lessons in a fresh way. With the

New arts-oriented private middle school opening in downtown Overland Park next year

A new, private middle school oriented toward providing an intimate, nurturing environment for budding artists, dancers and actors is expected to open next summer

Three seniors at Shawnee Mission East score perfect 36’s on their ACT composite

The three seniors at Shawnee Mission East who scored a perfect 36 on their ACT composite this year are as well-rounded as that number

Merriam Park elementary receives $110,000 grant from Kauffman Foundation

Merriam Park Elementary will become the latest to adopt the Community School model in Kansas thanks to a $110,000 grant from the Ewing Marion

Shawnee Mission School District adopts approach to upcoming State Legislative session

With a new school funding formula looming as the biggest chore confronting the upcoming State Legislature, the Shawnee Mission School District wants a financing

Candidates at Shawnee Mission PTA forum support increased funding for education

Candidates attending a forum Saturday at SM East roundly criticized state tax cuts enacted in 2012 and voiced strong support for increased funding for

Shawnee Mission School District chooses Leigh Anne Neal to lead early childhood education program

Leigh Anne Neal has been named assistant superintendent for the growing Early Childhood Education program at the Shawnee Mission School District. Neal is currently

Annual SM Education Foundation Fall Breakfast draws 1,100 people

The Shawnee Mission School District showcased programs and students spanning all ages and interests Thursday at the annual Fall Breakfast held by the SM


Page 1 of 512345