Rebecca Lahann

Center School District Votes in New Board Members; Hickman Mills Stays the Same

Winners of Center and Hickman Mills school board races tell us how they hope to help their districts.

Center School District votes for change

And other election news

Rebecca Lahann and Paul Kramschuster will fill the two open seats for the Center School District School Board.

Center School Board Election

By Kathy Feist

In the first Center District school board election in 13 years, two winning candidates tied for the open seats on April 3rd. Rebecca Lahann garnered 827 votes and Paul Kramschuster 815 in what amounted to 29 percent each. Incumbent Stephen Stricklin received 664 votes (23 percent) and Ronald Fritz 527 (19 percent).

“I’m excited to get in there and work for the students and the district,” said Lahann. “I want to move the district forward.”

She said one of her first concerns will regard buildings and facilities. “Updates to facilities are on everyone’s radar right now” she said.

Lahann, who works in human resources for the city, says she would also like to build more outreach to parents in the community. “I know as a parent, I wasn’t always sure how things were being taught, what the new trends or school issues were,” she said.

Lahann and her husband have lived in the District for over 13 years and have three children in District schools. She is active in the boy scouts at Boone Elementary.

Kramschuster said he was “super excited” about the win. “We worked really hard on this campaign,” he said.

Kramschuster pointed out that he will be the only teacher on the Board, which he said is one of his strengths. “When the Board makes policies, they don’t know how they will affect teachers,” he said. Kramschuster teaches theology at Notre Dame de Sion. His wife is a teacher in the Center School District. His daughter attends Center High School.

The Center School District has seen a dip in test scores in the last few years as well as a reported decrease in morale among teachers.

“People were ready for something new,” says current board member Marcie Calvin. “I do believe that getting our scores back up was a primary concern throughout the community.”

Alvin Brooks and Carol Graves were re-elected to the Hickman Mills School Board.

Hickman Mills School Board Election

By Kathy Feist and John Sharp

On April 3rd, residents in the Hickman Mills School District selected two candidates for open seats on the School Board. The winners were incumbents Alvin Brooks with 1,057 votes (39 percent) and Carol Graves with 953 (35 percent).  Sandra Sexton carried 20 percent of the vote (530) and William Young had 6 percent (151 votes).

Brooks said his main concern was Hickman Mills’ accreditation status, which is provisionally accredited. “I want to continue to work with colleagues on the board and with the superintendent to restore full accreditation to the District.”

“To do that, the District need to focus on having qualified teachers and to assure that classes are being taught by teachers who are certified in the course they are teaching,” he said. “To do that they will need more funding.”

“The District needs to continue to work on modifying the State School Foundation formula, which is unfair to many urban and suburban districts,” he said. “The District also needs to go seek grants from the private sector, particularly large businesses in or near the school district.”

Brooks is a current member of the Board. He has served as a city councilman and mayor pro tem for KCMO.  He is a founder and former president of the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime and former president of the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners.

Graves, who is is the current president of the Board, stated, “We have an obligation to help our students achieve academic success. When our students graduate, they have to be prepared to succeed in either a career or college.”

Graves has been a special education teacher in public schools for over 20 years.  She has masters degrees in special education and higher education and a specialist degree in school administration.


Sales Tax Passes

Over 79 percent of Kansas Citians voted in favor of extending the 1-cent sales tax on the April 3rd election. Money raised from the tax goes toward capital improvements, which will include replacing the Buck O’Neil Bridge (formerly the Broadway Bridge).

The sales tax, last renewed for 10 years in 2007, now raises about $70 million a year, which legally must be spent on capital improvements such as streets, bridges, curbs, sidewalks, flood control, parks and public buildings.  

The ballot language commits to continue to allocate 35 percent of this amount to neighborhood capital improvements divided equally among the six City Council districts which adds up to about $4 million per district annually.

This money is spent on projects recommended by the Public Improvements Advisory Committee (PIAC).

The measure required a simple majority to pass.


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