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Education

Voter guide: Here's a look at who's running for school board elections in the Kansas City area

A large "Vote Here" sign is posted along the rails of a concrete ramp leading to a door where people are lined up to vote.
File Photo
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KCUR 89.3
Voters line up outside a school in Lee's Summit to vote in this Aug. 4, 2020 photo.

School board elections are in the spotlight, with district leaders facing divisive issues over COVID precautions, teaching race in schools and books in school libraries.

Voters will choose new school board members in some of the largest districts in the Kansas City area on Tuesday, April 5.

They include the Liberty, Lee’s Summit, Independence, North Kansas City, Raytown, Blue Springs and Park Hill school districts.

School board elections were once low-profile affairs. But in recent years, school board meetings have emerged as frontline venues for debates over COVID precautions, racial justice, books in school libraries and other cultural wedge issues.

Some of those hot-button issues, including how schools should handle diversity and inclusion, feature in some of Tuesday's races. The elections come on the heels of a string of racist incidents at Kansas City area schools in recent months.

Missouri lawmakers have also weighed in, with bills that would require school board candidates to declare a party and move school board elections to November. Education leaders worry these changes would only deepen partisan divides.

Here’s a guide to the races and candidates on Tuesday’s ballot. A look at candidates' responses to a questionnaire can be found at The Kansas City Beacon.

Jackson County

Voters can choose two of the following candidates. 

Lee’s Summit School District

Independence School District:

Blue Springs School District:

Raytown School District:

Hickman Mills School District

Clay County:

Voters can choose two of the following candidates. 

North Kansas City Schools

The district is also asking voters to approve a $140 million general obligation bond issue to build and renovate school facilities and acquire school buses. The bond issue is not expected to increase the district’s current debt-service tax levy.
The district will also ask voters to permit the school board to raise the cap of its operating property tax levy. The move is not expected to increase the district’s total tax levy.

Liberty Public Schools

Platte County

Voters can choose two of the following candidates. 

Park Hill School District

The district is also asking voters to approve a $137 million general obligation bond to build and renovate school facilities, including a new elementary school. The bond is not expected to increase the district’s current debt-service tax levy.
The district will also ask voters to permit the school board to raise the cap of its operating property tax levy. The move is not expected to increase the district’s total tax levy.

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