School board candidates to face off in April 2 general election

Wichita school board members Lynn Rogers and Betty Arnold will be unopposed in their bids for re-election this spring.

Two other longtime board members – Connie Dietz and Lanora Nolan – will not seek re-election.

According to Sedgwick County election officials, two people are seeking the District 2 spot currently held by Dietz and three people are running for Nolan’s District 5 seat. The filing deadline was noon Tuesday.

That means there will be no primary election for the Wichita school board. The candidates will face off in the general election April 2.

Both candidates for District 2 in east Wichita have children who attend Hyde International Studies and Communications Magnet Elementary School.

Joy Eakins, a software design consultant and volunteer tutor, will face Scott B. Poor, an attorney and affordable housing developer.

Poor, 41, who filed Tuesday, said he decided to run for school board because his daughter is a kindergartner at Hyde and he is “very concerned” about local schools.

“Wichita public schools are going to have to learn to make do with less, and they’re going to have to make some very hard decisions,” he said. “I want to make sure we mitigate any impact that budget cuts will have on education.”

He and his wife, Tonya, also have a 2-year-old daughter.

Three candidates filed Tuesday for the District 5 seat, which represents west Wichita:

• John D. Crane, 56, a retired Wichita police officer, currently works security at Galichia Heart Hospital. He and his wife, Deborah, have three grown children who graduated from Wichita schools.

Crane worked 10 years as a school resource officer at Northwest High School and four years as a Safe and Drug-Free Schools officer with the district. His position was eliminated during budget cuts in 2010, he said.

“I got to thinking about it and praying about it (running for school board) and decided it was time for me to get involved in that way,” Crane said Tuesday.

“Right now my main priority is to make sure that money in our budget is going where it needs to go, where it can be best used.”

• Mike Rodee, 56, owns and operates South Central Sealing and Paving in Wichita. He and his wife, Liz, have three children who graduated from Wichita schools.

“I got to a point in my life where I can spend a little more time doing some other things, and I wanted to get involved,” Rodee said.

• Peter Grant, 56, has run unsuccessfully for the school board three times. In 2007, he lost an at-large race to former board member Kevass Harding. In 2009 he lost the District 5 race to Nolan, and in 2011 he did not advance past the primary for the at-large seat held by Sheril Logan.

Grant works as a table games dealer at the Kansas Star Casino. He has two sons: one graduated from Northwest; the other is a junior at East High School.

He said he decided to run again because “I don’t like the way the school board is running things right now.” He said the board has not made good on several promises from the 2008 bond issue, including opening a new comprehensive high school in Bel Aire.

Rogers, 54, a vice president at Farm Credit Leasing, will run unopposed for his fourth term representing District 6, which includes Riverside, Midtown and parts of north and northeast Wichita.

Arnold, 63, a retired state auditor, is unchallenged in District 1, which includes parts of downtown and northeast Wichita. She first joined the board in 2007.

Longtime member Dietz announced earlier this month that she wouldn’t seek a fourth term on the board. Nolan has not returned repeated phone calls for comment.