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Park tax, bond issue, school boards on April ballot

By Mike Genet mike.genet@examiner.net

Unlike a year earlier when the pandemic had just started to take hold, local election officials don’t anticipate any delay for the upcoming local elections in April.

“We’ll have a pretty good-sized election in April, and there’s no talk of that being delayed,”  said Corey Dillon, co-director of the Jackson County Election Board. “The entities had to certify on Tuesday, and we’re in the process of building that election.”

Dillon noted that absentee voting options won’t be the same as last year, when people were allowed to vote absentee ahead or request a mail-in ballot simply as a COVID-19 precaution to avoid possible crowding at polling places. People incapacitated or confined at home due to illness can still request an absentee ballot as before.

In addition to the city of Blue Springs asking voters to renew its parks sales tax, there are school board races in April, and the Fort Osage School District is asking voters to approve a bond issue.

Blue Springs has five candidates vying for two seats, including incumbents Kurt Swanson and Bryan Dennie. Carl Tharp, Valerie Eva Piercey and April Agate also filed as candidates. Blue Springs board members serve three-year terms. 

Fort Osage has three candidates vying for two seats with three-year terms – Kyle Leeds, Chris Gross and incumbent Floyd Hawkins. Board member Diana Rice’s seat is open as she moved out of the district.

The district will also have a pair of questions on the ballot, one for $20 million in bonds to renovate all kitchens and build a new district office building, a small levy transfer for a new gym and expanded band room at the high school. Neither measure would raise taxes.

In Grain Valley, only incumbents Eddie Saffell and Jared English filed for two school board seats, so there will be no election in April. Saffell, currently board president, has been on the board since 2012, and English rejoined the board after serving 2005 to 20009. Board members serve three years.

The Independence School District, which has six-year terms for board members, conducts board elections in even-numbered years.

March 10 is the last day for unregistered voters to get registered in time for the April 6 elections.