Public gets to know USD 501 Board of Education candidates

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TOPEKA, Kan (WIBW) -- The District Citizens Advisory Council held a Board of Education Candidate Panel Thursday evening.

“Let them tell you about themselves and then answer some questions that we on DCAC felt are important,” District Citizens Advisory Council’s Sean Geil said.

The panel featured the following nine candidates.

  • TJ Brown, District 1, Position 4
  • Lalo Munoz, District 1, Position 4
  • Sue R. Bolley, District 2, Position 5
  • Tracy Routsong, District 2, Position 5
  • H. Dean Zajic, District 2, Position 5
  • Melanie Stuart-Campbell, District 3, Position 6
  • C. Richard Bonebrake, Member At-Large
  • Keith Tatum, Member At-Large
  • Brent Hall, Member At-Large

Several people showed up to the event to ask the candidates questions about their goals and positions on educational issues.

“I’m really excited to see this much interest in the election,” Geil said.

Each candidate has a different connection to the Capitol City and the 501 School District.

“There’s some that are lifetime, there’s some that are newer to the Topeka area, there’s some that have children in the schools, there’s some that used to have kids in the schools. So it’s a great mix,” Geil explained.

In January four Board seats will be vacated. One of those seats is currently held by Patrick Woods representing District 3. He said getting to know the candidates is something everyone should do.

“This is the level of government, as your high school civics teacher would tell you, actually makes the decisions that affect you most directly. So you are closer to this layer of government than you are any other,” he said.

“This is something that affects everyone. Whether you have a child, whether you are the child, whether you’re the grandparent, the aunt, the uncle, whatever, everybody is affected by education,” Geil said.

Woods, who has spent 12 years as a Board Member said, the future members will play an important role within the community.

“This is the institution that has been the great equalizer throughout every single movement in history that every single spurt of economic growth, it all starts, here,” he added.