Editorials

Chappell needs to change

Kansas State Board of Education member Walt Chappell of Wichita won't be on the ballot today, as his term in office doesn't end for another two years. That's too bad, because unless he changes, Chappell needs to be replaced with someone more effective and responsible.

Chappell's first term has been a disaster so far, as he hasn't learned the role of a board member or how to work with others to get things done. As an Eagle news article last week noted, he has been publicly reprimanded by the board for his comments and actions, and he frequently hijacks board meetings.

Chappell also has poorly represented Wichita. He voted last month against awarding Curtis Middle School a $6 million, three-year federal grant. He also has tried to micromanage decisions of the Wichita school board and suggested that its spending priorities weren't focused on kids — which drew public rebukes from board members. State and local board members also complain that Chappell promotes false or misleading budget information.

Meanwhile, the few people cheering him on are mostly those who aren't supportive of public schools and want to cut funding.

Chappell has some valid concerns about school funding and a few worthy reform ideas — which is partly why this editorial board hesitantly endorsed Chappell two years ago. But he won't be effective at addressing these issues if he can't earn the respect of his fellow board members.

Perhaps Chappell will become a better board member during the next two years. We hope so. But he has yet to show much ability or desire to change. If anything, criticism seems to make him more proud and more obstinate.

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