WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – As the debate over mask mandates in schools continues, the USD 259 Board of Education is preparing to welcome three new faces on Jan. 10, 2022.
“That was one of the best non-mayor local election turnouts in recent history,” Stan Reeser, WPS Board of Education President, said.
Reeser says voter turnout reached nearly 15% this election cycle—that’s up from 8.3% in 2017.
Julie Hedrick, the only incumbent to keep her seat, says she’s not surprised by the increase in voter turnout.
“I had about double the amount of people vote for me as I did four years ago,” Hedrick said.
Ben Blankley of District 1 says he’s concerned for the future of the board after COVID-19.
“If the new board members think that they’re just going to be relating to pandemic stuff, I think they’re going to have a big learning curve,” Blankley said.
But Reeser says it’s not unheard of for a rush of newcomers to make their way to the board after an election cycle.
“In 2017, we ended up with five out of seven being new. I think that experience back then will help us get together faster as we try to get on that same page for students. I think there’ll be some exciting times ahead,” Reeser said.