Should the Wichita school superintendent live in the district?

The Wichita Eagle reported that USD 259, the Wichita public school district, superintendent candidate Denise Wren doesn’t live in the boundaries of the district she presently works for and seeks to lead. (School board likely to decide on superintendent Monday)

A few thoughts come to mind:

1. This isn’t the most important issue. But it reveals some things.

2. It’s more important in regard to last year’s school bond issue campaign. People like Wren and Kenton Cox of Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture live outside the district, yet they campaign for residents of the district to pay more taxes. Both had — can we use the word “greed” here? — a high degree of self-interest in the matter: Wren, so she could minister over new facilities, and Cox to earn money from taxpayers.

3. The Eagle article referenced above contains this passage: “Wren said the first question residents should answer is whether they really want neighborhood schools, she said, ‘because they’ll look like our neighborhoods’ that don’t exhibit much racial or socioeconomic diversity. ‘And if we want neighborhood schools, do we want them to be diverse — or equitable?'” I think that Wren said she values diversity. Or does she? She lives in the Goddard school district, and a quick look at enrollment figures there show very few minority students. The town of Goddard itself — which is different geographically from the school district, but similar in spirit — is 95.1% white.

2 Comments

  • Denise Wren was an asst principal at Heights 10 years ago when my kids were there. We found her to be fair and honest. But I know someone else who worked with her and found her to be somewhat subversive. When you buy into the 259 way of thinking–and wouldn’t one have to to be at the upper levels of administration–I believe it’s possible to lose your morality. If she becomes superintendent, I will judge her on what she does in that position. If she had children (I don’t believe she does) and lived in the Goddard school district to keep them out of 259 schools, now that would be a problem for me. I don’t think that’s the case.

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