Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com
With the coming School Board and City Commission election in April, we asked each candidate for both School Board and City Commission to answer a few questions to help give voters an insight into who is running. Each candidate was given the same list of questions to answer and their responses are being printed exactly as received. Over the coming days you we will see the profiles of all those the candidate that choose to respond to our request.
We begin our feature with School Board Member Mike Kelso.
Please tell about your background.
I currently am a Technical Consultant (computer geek in layman’s terms) for Fiserv. I help support and run a suite of products that are used by financial institutions around the world. I like to tell people that I married into life in Eudora, having met my wife Robyn while we were both students at Kansas State University. Having grown up in the suburbs in Johnson County, life here was a big change at first, but now after being here for over 20 years, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. We are heavily involved in school activities, 4H and church life at St. Paul United Church of Christ. We have two sons. Matthew is a freshman at Kansas State and Mason a junior at Eudora High School.
What qualifications do you feel you have for a seat on the School Board?
I currently am a member of the Eudora School Board. We have faced many difficult decisions during the four years that I have served. Most of these have been financial in nature due to shrinking budgets. None of the decisions that we as board members made regarding finances were easy. We know that people’s careers and lives were affected. Those difficult decisions have laid the groundwork for the district moving forward. Based on the outlook for the state of Kansas these difficult issues and decisions are going to continue and being able to bring some continuity to the board will help if and when those plans are put in place. My technical background will also be an asset as the district moves forward and increases its use of technology.
What do you think is the most important issue that faces the School Board and what do you plan to do in regards to that issue?
The most important issue facing our district is the upcoming retirement of Don Grosdidier, our Superintendent. We still have one and a half years before this occurs, but the district must and will spend a large amount of time during this hiring process. We started discussions about this several months ago as we realize how critical it will be to find the right individual. Many people will be involved in this process and decision. Most people do not realize what an asset Don has been. The district has thrived under his leadership, despite the uncertain financial storms that we have weathered. We need to continue to move forward and not take any steps back as we change leadership.
What other issues do you feel the School Board should review or remedy during the next term?
Finances will always be a key topic. The state of Kansas funds our schools. When the current school financing mechanism was put in place in the early 1990’s, we in the Eudora district were one of the worst performing districts in the state. Since the change in the way schools are funded, one could make the argument that we have benefitted as much or more than any other district. We now have outstanding facilities. We continue to have outstanding teachers, staff and administration. The level and number of programs that we are now able to offer is leaps and bounds beyond what it once was. All of us need to become involved in this process. If you support Eudora schools, and what we are all about, let your state representative and state senator know that. Let them know how much we could and would suffer if some of the proposed changes were to be put in place. To quote our Superintendent – “the level of a child’s education should not depend on his or her zip code.” We can’t go back to the way it was.
Preparing our young adults for life after high school will continue to be an important issue. Whether they choose to continue their education, enter the work force or possibly the military, it is our duty to continue to give them the opportunities they need in order to succeed.
Why do you want to sit on the School Board?
Being on the School Board is one small way in which I can give back to the community of Eudora. I have always been a firm believer that each of us has a civic responsibility to ‘pay it forward’ and give back to the communities in which we live. None of us would be where we are today if there hadn’t been people doing that for us. There are few things more important than the education of our children. Not to sound too cliché, but they are our future. WE must prepare them for their future. As a current board member I want to continue the work that all of the board members do on a daily basis. I do this, we all do this, because we care and we want the best for the students, teachers, staff and patrons of the Eudora School District.
We will continue to bring you Candidate profiles for the School Board and City Commission over the course of the next two weeks. Candidates will also have the opportunity to answer more in depth questions during the Meet The Candidates Forum on Tuesday, March 12 at 7:00 PM. The Forum will be held at Eudora City Hall, 4 East 7th Street and the public is invited to attend.