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New candidates run in local school board races

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 6:46 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - New candidates are running in local school board races, including Andover.

Audra Bell is competing against the incumbent, Josh Wells, for District 1 Andover School Board seat.

“As a mother and as a teacher, I had a very unique perspective being on both sides of that spectrum. Personally, I felt, along with my co-workers and colleagues, that there weren’t a lot of the issues being addressed that were very concerning to the staff over the last few years,” said Bell.

Wells has been serving on the school board since 2013 and has been listening to feedback from the community.

“It’s been a great time to have good conversations. We’ve learned a lot. Frankly, I think that some of the things that have been brought to our attention and that we’ve dealt with and that we’ve learned are going to make us better in the future,” said Wells.

The Kansas Association of School Boards helps with training for the 286 school districts in the state. While they do not track how many people are running in school board elections, they have seen increased attention on school board meetings.

“Education has really been in the spotlight. As I said, that may tend to get more people wanting to be involved and potentially a part of the process,” said Mark Tallman, associate executive director for KASB.

While these races are nonpartisan, Tallman said they are essential.

“The critical thing about local school board members, you’re the ones that get to make those management decisions. Local school boards talk about specifically what are the programs and priorities we want in our district,” said Tallman.

Early voting at election offices begins next week. The general election will be held on November 2nd.

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