Arthur Benson Defeated for KC School Board Re-election
April 3, 2012

KC School Board member Arthur Benson loses his re-election campaign to challenger Jon Hile.

The man who may have done the most to impact the Kansas. City School District over the last generation, has lost his bid to be re-elected to the Kansas City School Board.
With 90% of the vote in from the Kansas City Election Board, School Board member Arthur Arthur Benson trails his first district challenger Jon Hill by 12 points.
Hile has 461 votes. Benson has 363 votes.
Benson was the lead attorney in the Kansas City school desegregation case.
The judgement from years of litigation, often led by Benson it a landmark chapter in the saga of the troubled district.
The case led to a billion dollars of state and local spending in the district; a massive busing plan and charter and magnet schools.
Benson was elected to school board as a reformer he promised to clear out the patronage politics that riddled the district.
He became a staunch defender of former Superintendent John Covington, only to be stunned when Covington abruptly quit his Kansas City job.
The Benson/Hile race was the Only Kansas City School Board race where candidates formally files for office.
12 other candidates, including School Board President Airick West and incumbent Duane Kelly offered write-in campaigns.
The results from the three campaigns with write-in candidates only won’t be known for several days.
Election Board Commissioner Shawn Kieffer says it could take 7-10 days to count the write-in votes by hand.


Voting in KC School Board Election Is Very Light
April 3, 2012

Voting for the 3 seats up on the troubled Kansas City School Board is very light.
At three different locations by mid-afternoon, containing four precincts, a total of 42 votes had been cast out of about 2800 voters on the rolls at those polls. In each of the four precincts informally surveyed, all the candidates are write-in candidates.
Voting did not appear to pick-up too much in the traditional late-afternoon voting period.
One poll worker blames the lack of turn-out on poor publicity by the Kansas City Election Board and the Kansas City School District.
The Kansas City school system, however, has been in the headlines since late last summer. At that time, the district had just learned it was losing it’s state accreditation. Then the superintendent, Dr. John Covington, resigned abruptly. Within the last month, the headlines popped up again. The current superintendent, Dr. Stephen Green is involved in an intense battle with parents who oppose his plan to change the leadership at the district’s three African Centered Education (ACE) schools.
Only two candidates, incumbent Arthur Benson and challenger Jon Hile are listed the ballots. Both are running in the 1st sub-district.
12 others are running organized write-in campaigns, including School Board President Airick West and incumbent Duane Kelly.
Kansas City Election Board Director Shawn Kieffer says it will be seven-to-ten days before all the write-in ballots in the 3rd, 5th and at-large races are determined.
Many of the write-in candidates filed notices of their intent to run a write-in campaign But that list, say election officials, should not be regarded as comprehensive.
Kieffer says the process to count the write-in votes may be easier than anticipated because turn out is so light.
Another issue is determining the intent of the voter. Several candidates have distinctive names.
That includes Board President Airick West and Lyne’t Smith. Marisol Montero is also running as a write-in candidate. Kieffer says if they can determine who the voter is trying to vote for, they will count the ballot.
Other other hand, if the write-in vote is for a very common name, ‘John Smith’, for example; they may not count it. That’s because the voting rolls may contain many registered voters under the name ‘John Smith’.
Kieffer says the election officials will start counting the write-in votes Wednesday.
Meanwhile legislation to eliminate the elected Kansas City School Board continues to be considered in the Missouri legislature. The recent turmoil in the district is a factor in that. Another major issue prompting reform calls are the district’s poor scores on state exams that led to the district being stripped of state accreditation at the first of the year.

Field of 14 KC School Candidates Gather for Board Election Forum
March 26, 2012

12 of the 14 candidates, including Board President Airick West, are running as write-in candidates. Only incumbent Arthur Benson and John Hile filed to run for office. The election is April 3.