There are few open school board seats and even fewer contenders for this year's school board elections in Eastern Jackson County.
Tuesday was the last day to file for school board member candidacy. Three area school districts have incumbents who remain unchallenged while the most contested district has four candidates running for two available seats. Below are the number of school board seats that are open and names of either incumbents or challengers:
There are two vacant seats on the Independence school board this year. Board Member Denise Frears, who was elected four years ago to complete former member Bob Clothier’s term, will be running as an incumbent, and Jana Waits, who has reached the two consecutive term limit, cannot seek re-election this time -- which leaves her seat open.
Four people have filed in the Independence School District: Denise Frears; Blake Roberson,who previously ran for the school board; Ron Thornbury, who is making his first attempt running for the board; and another newcomer, Dennis Tharp.
The Independence district is unique among the rest of the Eastern Jackson County school boards, as members serve a longer six-year term instead of the usual three years. Another difference is that each Independence resident filing for candidacy is required to submit a petition consisting of 100 registered voter signatures and complete an application packet issued by the district.
There will be no school board election in Blue Springs this year. Incumbents Kay Coen, Dale Walkup and Dale Falck are unopposed, as no Blue Springs resident challenged their three seats.
The Blue Springs school board consists of seven members who serve three-year terms.
School board president David Shrout and members Kirk Stobart and Gary Thompson all remain unchallenged. They will keep their school board seats for the next three years.
This district has one challenger for the three available seats. Tisha Vogel is the new filer, and will challenge incumbents Jeff Coleman, Jan Reding and Phil Hutchinson for a spot on the school board.
Five candidates have filed for three positions on the Lee's Summit school board. Bill Baird, Mark Ousnamer and Craig Scott are this year's new candidates while current board members Chris Storms and Teri Harmon will also be running to continue to hold their seats.
A Lee's Summit school board member's term is three years.
School board candidates will be not be on Raytown's ballot this year. No one challenged current board members Rick Moore, Terry E. Landers and Jerome Barnes' seats.
School board elections for all Eastern Jackson County districts will be held on April 8.