Kansas School Board Candidate Forum, June 30, 2008


I attended a forum on June 30, 2008, for candidates for two district seats on the Kansas State Board of Education. The event was held at Allison Middle School in Wichita and moderated by Randy Brown.

Candidates attending were Walt Chappell, David Dennis, Dennis Hedke, Charles Wiggins, and Paul Casanova. Marty Marshall did not attend.

Perhaps the biggest surprise to me is there is actually some difference on the issues between these candidates. Merit pay is such an issue. Casanova and Hedke are in favor of merit pay; Wiggins believes it has merit but would be difficult to implement; and Dennis and Chappell are opposed — strongly, in my judgment — to merit pay.

There is also disagreement about consolidation of school districts. Chappell has the most ambitious plan, calling to reduce the number of school districts from the current 298 to 40, with each district having at least 10,000 students. He doesn’t want to close any schools, just consolidate the districts. He believes this will save $350 million per year. Those savings would not be returned to the taxpayers. Instead, they would be spent on other things in the public schools.

All candidates agree that our public schools are underfunded.

All agree either that the federal No Child Left Behind legislation is flawed or is not working as intended.

All believe that teachers need to be paid more. Some mentioned an easier path to teacher certification for those people who are interested in teaching but don’t have a degree in education.

There were a few notable remarks. Chappell believes in transparency, something that is in short supply in the Wichita public school district. Casanova said he’d do a good job on the board because “my kids” are in the public schools and that is a highly motivating factor. This reveals how the public schools are simply another special interest group.

Wiggins made a very curious remark, saying several times that local school districts “own their own business.” This analogy or comparison is false. What type of business has a government-mandated monopoly on the use of public funds for education, those funds raised by the coercive force of government?

My questions for the candidates, submitted in writing, were these (as best as I can remember): “What will you do to help Kansas families who, for whatever reason, decide they can’t use product the public schools produce, but can’t afford private or parochial school tuition?” Also “In Minneapolis, students can attend schools in any district as long as there are open seats. Would you support this in Kansas?” The moderator chose not to submit these questions to the candidates.


7 responses to “Kansas School Board Candidate Forum, June 30, 2008”

  1. Jeremy Mohn

    Greetings, Bob.

    Were the candidates asked to talk about their position on the current Kansas Science Education Standards?

    If so, what do you remember them saying?

  2. Bob Weeks

    Yes, they were asked. I didn’t take notes on this question, but I believe that all candidates were in agreement with the current standards, except that maybe Mr. Henke didn’t answer the question directly.

  3. Goldstein

    Mohn is a fanatic who believes that “evolution” is the only issue Kansas faces.

  4. I know this is a little off-topic but this video is truly relevant to anyone in the civilized world who has money, a home or any form of business.employment:


    How has this information not come to light before? I hope the media gives this the attention it deserves!

  5. ParRoyago

    I’m the only one in this world. Can please someone join me in this life? Or maybe death…

  6. The web is becoming more significant. You’ll find it utilized on trade, information and consequently examination. A lot more people are growing linked over the web in addition to main industry understand or know this for a fact of the matter. That’s the reason why creating a high-quality internet search engine presence is of outmost importance. seo companies reviews can help in accomplishing these goals and objectives.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.