Petitions handed to clerk
A petition seeking to change how school board members are elected is expected to be turned in today to Douglas County Clerk Patty Jaimes, said a petition organizer Betty Bullock.
Bullock said more than 150 signatures had been gathered as of Monday, and she hoped at least 10 more would be gathered before the petitions are taken to Jaimes. A total of 140 signatures from voters in the Baldwin school district was required.
"We got more than we needed," Bullock said.
Bullock and the petition carriers are seeking to establish a 7-member, at-large school board. Board members are currently elected by district two from Baldwin City, two from the Marion Springs area, two from the Vinland area and one at-large.
Bullock said the districts violate state statute because they have disproportionate populations and are not "compact" she noted how the Marion Springs district stretches 15 miles west of Baldwin and down into Franklin County.
"We are not equal in population by any means and we are not compact," Bullock said.
The petition was approved by Kansas State Board of Education and reviewed by Douglas County counsel Evan Ice prior to circulation.
Jaimes will confirm the signatures before the issue is placed on the Nov. 7 general election ballot.
Bullock said the organizers of the petition plan to sponsor at least one public forum about the issue before the election.
Bullock said she will be glad to see the issue come to a vote, but regrets how some people have reacted to the initiative. Several residents in the Marion Springs and Vinland districts have expressed the importance of having board representatives from their rural areas.
"I'm afraid there are a lot of hard feelings," Bullock said. "That is not our intent. The community will have a chance to decide."