The next Lawrence school board election will be the public's first chance at the ballot box to give thumbs up or down to the current board's endorsement of closing some neighborhood schools while floating a $60 million bond issue.
The likely controversy those decisions will stir heading into the April 1 election have the four Lawrence board members facing re-election hesitant about another four-year term. The bond issue question, to finance new construction and consolidation, will be on the same ballot.
Board president Scott Morgan, who runs a publishing company, said his candidacy's influence on fate of the bond issue would be important to his decision.
"I don't know what I'm doing," he said. "I've got to figure out if I help (the bond issue) or hurt it, if I'm running."
The foursome - Scott Morgan, Mary Loveland, Jack Davidson and Sue Morgan - said Monday they still were weighing the pros and cons of placing their names on the ballot. The filing deadline is Jan. 21.
Meanwhile, Cindy Yulich, 43, confirmed she would seek a seat on the seven-member board.
"It is my intent to do that," said Yulich, a manager of Emprise Bank in Lawrence.
Yulich has been a member of the Lawrence Business/Education Partnership board since 1997. She also has been on the Quail Run and East Heights school site councils. Her children attend Quail Run and Southwest Junior High schools.
Yulich said she had been attending board meetings to brush up on the issues. The board's decisions on budget and facilities matters were generally on the mark, she said.
"I'd hate to see everything they've done totally derailed," she said.
For the current board members with expiring terms, the decision to run rests on the balance of contributing to public education while meeting the demands of family and work.
"I'm honestly struggling with this decision," said Loveland, who is completing her fourth term. "I believe in the direction we're going. I'm making the pro list and the con list, and it's about even."
Some said they would factor in the type of alternative candidates who emerge when deciding whether to run.
"There are 20,000 people in this community who could do a better job of this," Scott Morgan said. "The question is whether they step up or not."
Davidson said he would announce his plans at the last possible moment.
"Noon on the last day, that's when I'll decide," said Davidson, a retired Kansas University professor.
Sue Morgan, a church administrator, said some people had assumed she would seek re-election.
"It's not a no-brainer," Sue Morgan said. The amount of time required of board members is a major factor in her thinking. "It's a killer, as far as time demands."
She said she would prefer to settle the district's facilities issues before stepping aside, but she's just not sure she can handle eight years on the board.
"They ought to make it a six-year term," she said.
Loveland said she nearly had her re-election decision made for her last Tuesday. If Democrat Kathleen Sebelius had not defeated Republican Tim Shallenburger, she wouldn't have sought a fifth term.
"Had the gubernatorial election ended differently, I would not have run," she said. "I had such little regard for the other candidate's abilities to take care of public education.