Donna Pittman


To the editor:

In 2010, Jim Hinson, Independence School District superintendent, authored a book about the school district annexation that allowed Kansas City School District schools in Independence and Sugar Creek into the Independence School District.

The book, “Inspiring Greatness: A Community’s Commitment to a Brighter Future,” opens by describing the public forum held at the Englewood Theater on Feb. 9, 2006, hosted by the non-profit organization Progress Independence. Eileen Weir, founder of Progress Independence, planned, organized, promoted and executed that event, which was the catalyst for the campaign to allow Independence and Kansas City School District residents to vote on the boundary change.

The school district boundary change remains the single most important achievement for Independence in more than 30 years. Many people were involved in its success, but Eileen Weir’s role should not be overlooked. Bringing together Hinson, Sen. Victor Callahan and Bernard Taylor from the Kansas City School District in a public discussion was bold, courageous and necessary. Eileen, as the leader of Progress Independence, did not shy away from the most controversial issue of the day, but confronted it. Those who were present that night will never forget it. It was the launching pad for radical change that many said could never be done.

That is what true community leaders do. Eileen worked on the campaign because it was right for the families and children in Independence. She did not sit on the sidelines and watch it unfold; she went to work knocking on doors and getting citizens to participate in the effort. Eileen worked alongside Sen. Callahan and dozens of ordinary citizens who dedicated themselves to the boundary change.

She established herself as one of the most passionate and effective leaders in Independence. That is why I am supporting her as the next mayor of Independence.