Mark Chrislip

Mark ChrislipSchool Board Member Mark Chrislip

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

With the upcoming elections for City Commission and School Board, we wanted to take time to highlight each candidate in the race.

All candidates were sent a questionnaire to fill out and respond to and stated that their responses to those questions will be presented as sent to us with no editing.

Today, we feature School Board Member Mark Chrislip

Please tell about your background and qualifications for a position on the School Board

– Lived in Eudora for 37 years. Married for 38 years. I have 3 grown children who all went to Eudora schools K thru 12. Also have 10 grandkids, 3 of which are attending the grade school.

– I’m the Director of Sales and Marketing for White’s Electronics

– Served on the School Board for 24 years.

The most important issue facing the school board is funding. Tell us how you would decide on any budget cuts that may need to be made now and in the coming year.

The new state-funding bill recently passed is the single biggest challenge we face here in Eudora. As a school board member my job is to hold our administrators accountable to developing a strong budget that will allow us to be the best with what we have. Unfortunately the budget shortfalls will cut deep into our budget and that means we will be faced with difficult decisions. I will be committed to making sure that we analyze the situation and look at all possible options and that all the stake holders have input into the decision making process.

Do you support raising the local mill rate to cover any under funding by the state and why or why not?

Unfortunately the state legislators have put us in a very difficult position. As I stated above we are looking at deep cuts in our budget. I do not support the idea that in order to maintain our current level of funding we should place that burden on the local patrons.

The State Board of Education has adopted and begun implementation of the Common Core Standards in school districts through the state. What is your position on the Common Core Standards and if they were to become optional, would you support keeping or removing them from the curriculum in the Eudora School District?

Over my tenure on the School Board there have been many controversial programs such as QPA , No Child Left Behind, Common Core, and others that have influenced the way we educate our kids here in Eudora. Any time the Federal Government tries to mandate educational strategies at the local level I’m always a bit leery of their intentions. That said, I’ve seen how well our administrators and teachers have embraced these programs in manner that has a positive influence on the quality of educations we provide. The district has embraced Common Core with terrific strategies and a lot of hard work to make sure we continue the quality expected in Eudora. Should the mandate become optional, I trust our team to continue the things that are working and look at options where we might have gaps. This district is committed to the to a strong set of core values and a strategic plan that will ensure we maintain a high commitment to the education of our kids. So, whether we have Common Core or not, I’m committed to do what I can to hold us accountable to these values and strategic plans.

What other issues do you see as important decisions the School Board will face in the near future?

Recently the board had the opportunity to visit all the buildings in the district and see first hand some of our immediate challenges. Some of those challenges include the following:

– Strengthening the safety and security of our buildings. Unfortunately in this day and age it is imperative that we have strong safety measures in place to protect our kids. We have safe schools in Eudora but we also areas that need to improve, all of which, cost money not budgeted at this time.

– We have needs in the area of technology. Eudora has always been committed to a strong technology strategy but technology continues to change at a rapid pace and we have gaps that need improved.

– Extra-curricular activities are a strong value in Eudora and in order to maintain high quality, we need to improve and replace some of the equipment, uniforms, musical instruments and other critical items.

– Maintaining our commitment to small class sizes.

Why do you want to sit on the School Board?

I’m extremely proud of this district and all we’ve accomplished for the past 24 years and I want to be a part of helping maintain the quality of education we provide.

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The City elections will be held on Tuesday, April 7. Polls will be open from 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. Voters can vote early by mail or by going to the Douglas County Courthouse.  For more information on advance voting, you can visit the Douglas County Elections website: https://www.douglascountyks.org/depts/voting-and-elections/advance-voting

Three of the five candidates running for the City Commission will be selected. On the School Board, six candidates are vying for four seats.

We will have more in depth information about polling places as we near Election Day. The remaining candidates will be profiled over the next few days.

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Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

The Eudora School Board will have a very similar look to it for the next two years as all the incumbents that ran won their respective seats.  Re-elected to the Eudora School Board were Joe Pyle, Belinda Rehmer and Mark Chrislip. Pyle who, by less than 5 votes (this number is pending the results from Leavenworth County) finished ahead of  Rehmer.

The newcomer to the School Board will be Dr. Daniel Dickerson who will take the seat vacated by Kenny Massey who ran for City Council. Bryan Maring came in fifth place, well behind Dickerson.

Joe Pyle said on his narrow first place win, “I’m humbled by the confidence of all the voters and very grateful. We have a lot of tough decisions ahead of us and I look forward to doing the best I can.”

Belinda Rehmer commented on her victory saying “Apparently people are satisfied with the job we have been doing since all the incumbents were re-elected.  This is vote of confidence we are on the right track with what we are doing.”

The Board will be facing some very tough questions in the days and weeks ahead as the topic of school district financing will be front and center.

Also new to the board will be Joseph Hurla who was unopposed for the seat previously filled by Nancy Jackson who decided not to run for re-election.

Some interesting stats from the race:

Pyle  lead in the west, north and south parts of Eudora while Rehmer was the top vote getter in the Central part of town.  Dickerson took 5th in the Central and South part of town, but made up for those loses on the west side.

North Eudora had the largest percent of vote turnout for the School Board race with 17.3% of the population casting ballots. 15.6% of west voters turned out, while the South has 12.9% and the Central Eudora Precinct had only 12.6%.

We didn’t see who the 15 write-in votes were for, but we are taking a hunch that Mickey Mouse had a good showing.

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Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

We are wrapping up the profiles of the candidates for both Eudora City Council and the Eudora School Board.  We sent out a questionnaire to all candidates and asked them the exact same questions. Their responses to the questions will be printed verbatim.  This is opportunity for you, the reader, to see not only their responses but how they respond.  The questions in the survey came from both editorial board decisions and reader input.

Today, we feature incumbent Mark Chrislip.

Mr. Chrislip, please tell about your background.

I have lived in Eudora for 33 years.  We have 3 grown children who attended K-12 in Eudora.  We also have 8 grandchildren who are or will be attending school in Eudora.  Currently I’m the V.P. of Marketing for foneGEAR which is a privately held electronic accessory company. I have a degree in Business Management.

What qualifications do you have for a seat on the School Board?

I have been on the School Board for 20 years.  During that time I served as President of the Board for five years and have been on the negotiating team for 16 of the 20 years.

What do you think is the most important issue that faces the School Board and how would you help solve that issue?

The most important issue facing the School Board is dealing with the financial cutbacks from the state.  The cutbacks we are facing now are forcing the Board to make cuts that could have an impact on the quality of education that we provide for our students.

The budget situation for the school district is an important topic. What kind of solutions do you have to help solve School District budgetary issues?

The budgetary issues for the district are issues we have little control over since we are at the mercy of the state legislators and how they decide to balance the state budget.  Our job is to figure out how to best use the funds we receive to ensure we are providing the quality of education that our patrons expect.  As a district we only have a few options to raise revenue beyond what the state provides.  We can raise taxes which I’m not a proponent of.  Or we can start to assess fees for education and extra-curricular activities.  My philosophy and the philosophy of the district have always believed that public education ought to be free and my goal would be to protect that philosophy as long as we can.  So with few options to raise revenue we are forced to look at how we can cut expenses to balance our budget.  Our district has always been a frugal district and over the past few years we have reduced expenses in areas where we could without impacting jobs for our employees.  Because of the severity of the budget reductions we are faced with making tough decisions about staffing, class size, elective courses we offer, and extra-curricular programs that we provide.  These decisions will not be easy but my commitment will be to evaluate all the options and make the decisions that will have the least amount of impact on the quality of education for the student.  Make no mistake about it though we are at a point where the cuts we make will impact students and it’s my goal to do all that we can to minimize the impact.

What ideas to you have to either continue the quality of education or improve it at the schools?

Over the years the quality of education that we provide in our district has made tremendous strides.  We have excellent staff and teachers who work hard to make sure we are always striving to improve.  The School Board has the responsibility of evaluating our progress and setting policy that will hold the district staff and teachers accountable for maintaining the overall mission and values we have established for our district. As a board member my commitment will be to continue to make sure our district mission and our values are achieved.

What is your position on state financing of School Districts?

As expressed earlier our legislators have the responsibility of a presenting a balanced budget.  With revenue down that is becoming a more and more difficult task and cuts across the board are inevitable.  My feeling is education has been cut enough and further cuts will have an adverse impact on the education that our kids will receive.  My hope is our legislators will agree and look to other places to balance the budget.

What other issues do you feel are important to the school board?

I have had the opportunity of representing the board while negotiating annual contracts with the teachers.  Over the years the Board and the teachers union have enjoyed a strong relationship, even though we disagree on issues we have always maintained high respect for one another.  This has given us the opportunity to agree on contracts that have been beneficial to both parties.  If elected I commit to continue to work hard at maintaining this important relationship.

Why do you want to sit on the School Board?

I take tremendous pride in the education we provide in Eudora.  We have wonderful facilities, dedicated teachers and staff, excellent extra-curricular programs, and high academic achievement.  This has been the result of hard work from our community members, parents, district staff, teachers, employees, our kids, and the oversight and direction from the School Board.  I want to sit on the Eudora School Board so that I can do what I can to help maintain and grow the standards of excellence we enjoy.

You will have the opportunity to meet the candidates face to face on March 23rd when The Eudora Chamber of Commerce and Eudorareporter.com co-sponsor our “Meet the Candidates” forum. The forum will begin at 6:30PM. For more information about the forum you can click on this link: http://www.eudorareporter.com/eudora-news-meet-the-candidates/. Election day is Tuesday, April 5th.

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1/18/2011 NEWS UPDATE

Mark Chrisplip has filed for reelection for his School Board seat as of this morning.

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

We wanted to give you a quick rundown as to what we have learned about candidates so far in the upcoming elections.

First the City Council Elections:

Incumbent Ruth Hughs has filed for the campaign. Councilwoman Maria Nelson has stated on the record that she is going to file.

Challenger Jerry Trober has also filed for the election. Jeff Peterson, the other sitting council member has decided not to run.  Three seats are up for election in 2011.

On the School Board:

There are five seats to be put to a vote. 4 regular seats held by board members Mark Chrislip, Kenny Massey, Joe Pyle and Belinda Rehmer are up and Nancy Jackson was appointed to the board, so her seat is also up for reelection this year.

As of late last week, Rehmer was the only incumbent so far to file.  Chrislip  (SEE NEWS UPDATE ABOVE), Massey and Pyle stated they are still “undecided”. Jackson was unavailable to comment and has not returned inquiries.

Also filing for School Board seats are Dr. Daniel Dickerson and Bryan Maring. Dickerson practices at Eudora Family Care and Maring has been an instructor at the University and High school levels.

The filing deadline is January 25th.  As we get closer to the elections, we will have candidate profiles for all the candidates running in the election who choose to respond. EudoraReporter.com will be your one stop location for election coverage in 2011.

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