Lynn Rogers, the most senior member of the Wichita school board, will not seek a fifth term on the board, he said Monday.
“It is time for me to step down and provide opportunity for our next generation of leaders,” Rogers said in a statement. He said he knows there are many who could succeed him, “and I look forward to hearing their ideas.”
Two other board members whose terms expire in January – Betty Arnold and Mike Rodee – have filed for re-election. Joy Eakins, who represents District 2 in east Wichita, has not filed or said whether she plans to run.
The school district that Rogers represents includes Riverside, Midtown and parts of north and northeast Wichita. Before being elected to the board in 2001, he was a member of the district’s facilities master plan steering committee, which helped plan and push the 2000 bond issue.
During Rogers’ time on the board, the district passed another bond issue, hired superintendent John Allison, ended the practice of busing for integration, closed several schools and redrew attendance boundaries. More recently, the board hired Alicia Thompson to replace Allison, who is leaving in June to become superintendent of Olathe schools.
“When I was first elected to the board, I thought I knew a lot,” Rogers said. “What’s really interesting is, 16 years later I’m still learning something new at every board meeting.
“My big concern would be that we have people who are committed to public education and wanting to do what is best for our students and our staff.”
Arnold, a retired state auditor, has filed for a third full term representing District 1. She won her seat in 2007 after filling an unexpired term and was re-elected in 2009 and 2013. Her district covers parts of east and northeast Wichita.
“I’m pleased with the direction we are going in a few areas,” Arnold said. “When I ran (previously), it was in terms of making a difference in the achievement gap. I’d love to say we’re there, but we’re not.”
She said her experience on the board means she’s “poised to hopefully see more of an impact as far as student learning.”
“It takes quite a bit to get acclimated to process, procedure, our role as board members,” Arnold said. “You just don’t step into that arena and really be a productive person. … It takes time.”
Rodee, who owns South Central Sealing and Paving, filed for a second term representing District 5, which covers western parts of the district.
“Outside of a couple frustrations, it is enjoyable to do and rewarding,” he said. “It’s a steep learning curve, but I’m comfortable with the system now.”
He said he’d like another four years on the board to help guide the district’s budget in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling that is expected to pump more state money into Wichita schools.
“Hopefully we can get the budget going back in the right direction,” he said. “Reinstate some programs that we’ve had to eliminate or reduce, and make sure we’re getting the kids what they need.”
The filing deadline for school board seats is noon on June 1. The primary is Aug. 1, and the general election is Nov. 7.