School board field climbs to four with two filings

By The Mercury

Two more candidates filed Friday for the USD 383 Board of Education, ensuring that voters in April will have at least as many candidates to choose from as there are positions to fill.

Pat Hudgins and Aaron Estabrook both submitted papers in advance of Tuesday’s noon filing deadline, becoming the third and fourth declared candidates in the race for three seats.

They join Marcia Rozell and Mitch Beims on the ballot. Incumbents Peter Paukstelis and Beth Tatarko, whose terms expire, have already said they do not intend to file for re-election.

The third board member whose term expires this year, Walt Pesaresi, said Friday there’s a good possibility he will not run for reelection, but he hasn’t completely ruled it out. He has been on the board since 2001, the longest tenure among the current board members.

Hudgins is employed by the Board of Student Publications at Kansas State University, and will be making her first run at elective office. Estabrook was a Democratic candidate for the Kansas Legislature in November, losing to Republican Tom Phillips. Concurrent with his announcement, Estabrook released a statement calling for increased funding for K-12 education in Kansas.

He noted that a Kansas court recently ruled that schools were underfunded on a base aide per pupil formula and ordered the Kansas Legislature to restore education funding.

“We have a constitutional obligation to provide a suitable education to our students and I plan to ensure that happens on a local level,” Estabrook said. “A continual non-specific discussion of inefficiencies in our schools does nothing to solve the problems we face. Instead of pointing fingers at each other it’s time to accept responsibility for the work that must be done, and that’s exactly what I plan to do.”

In addition to the school board race, voters in April will be filling three seats on the Manhattan City Commission. Seven candidates have joined the field to date: incumbent Rich Jankovich, former commissioners Karen McCulloh and Bob Strawn, plus John Ball, Daniel Hogan, Usha Reddi and Deb Nuss.

In addition to Jankovich, the terms of Loren Pepperd and Jim Sherow expire. Both have said they will not seek re-election.

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