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A Shake-Up On The Shawnee Mission School District Board

Sam Zeff
KCUR 89.3

Update Aug. 4 5:38 p.m.

Mandi Hunter's lead over at-large incumbent Cindy Neighbor more than doubled Friday afternoon, from seven votes to 18 votes. 

The Johnson County Election updated the primary night vote totals after counting additional mail in ballots post marked by 7:00 Tuesday night and received in the office Friday.

The votes, including provisional ballots, will be canvassed Monday morning.

If Hunter's lead holds she will face Heather Ousley in the general election.

Original story starts here.

Incumbents had a rough showing in Tuesday's primary for the Shawnee Mission School Board, but just how rough of a time, we won't know for sure until Monday.

School board member Cindy Neighbor lost her seat Tuesday night by just seven votes in a crowded at-large primary race. Heather Ousley came in first by a wide margin winning 42 percent of the vote. Mandi Hunter came in second with 20.71 percent. Neighbor, who has been on the board for more than 20 years, came in third with 20.67 percent.

However, there might be a lot more votes left to count.

Johnson County Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker says there are provisional ballots waiting to be counted. This year voters could ask for a paper ballot and those remain uncounted. Mail in ballots post marked by 7 p.m. Tuesday will be counted if they make it to the election office by Friday.

"I think it is wise to say that any race that is so close, we should just hold tight" until the votes are canvassed on Monday, says Metsker.

Ousley and Hunter were both endorsed by the upstart Education First Shawnee Mission grassroots group. Education First modeled its campaign on the Stand Up Blue Valley organization that was successful in getting its candidates elected to the Kansas Legislature last year.

In the West area, newcomer Laura Guy, the endorsed Education First candidate, came in first with almost 39 percent of the vote. Incumbent Craig Denny was a distant second with 29 percent. Denny was just elected school board president. Denny appears to have a tough race ahead of him.

There will for sure be at least one new board member. In the East area, long time incumbent Donna Bysfield pulled out of the race after filing for re-election. James Lockard and Mary Sinclair will face off in November.

Sam Zeff covers education for KCUR and the Kansas News Service and is co-host of the political podcast Statehouse Blend Kansas. Follow him on Twitter @SamZeff.

You deserve to know what your taxpayer dollars are paying for and what public officials are doing on your behalf – I’ll work to report on irresponsible government spending in the Kansas City area and shed light on controversies that slow government down. And when you hear my voice in the morning, you know you’re getting everything you need to start your day. Email me at sam@kcur.org, find me on Twitter @samzeff or call me at 816-235-5004.
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