The first candidate has emerged in the election for four seats on the Lawrence school board.
Lawrence resident Marlene Merrill, chairwoman of the Lawrence Arts Commission, is the only candidate to file so far, said Jamie Shew, Douglas County clerk.
Merrill, who paid the $5 filing fee last Thursday, retired in 2003 after 12 years as director of assessments for the Lawrence school district. She is now a research and testing specialist for Kansas City, Kan., public schools.
"I have a strong interest in public education and I have a very strong interest in supporting our community," Merrill said.
She said she has skills that she would like to give back to the community.
"I can bring different perspectives to the school board that would assist to advancing and supporting our children and youth in the community," she said.
If elected, Merrill said she would push for all-day kindergarten in Lawrence.
"I think preschool education is very important, and apparently in Lawrence they've done a number of things with the early childhood program," she said.
She also supports continuing programs that keep students in school, including those that educate students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
She said she also wanted to make sure that state assessments did not paint schools in an unfair light.
What's on the agenda for USD 497
- 6News video: Merrill first official candidate for school board (01-02-07)
- Changes building for school district (01-03-07)
- No filings yet for school board (12-18-06)
- Despite excellence award, Southwest fails assessment test (12-17-06)
- New cafeteria gives students elbow room (12-06-06)
- School board looks to stretch 'wish list' funds (11-28-06)
- Chat about school construction with Tom Bracciano (09-06-06)
For example, she said the recent state report cards on schools showed that while Southwest Junior High School was named a School of Excellence in reading, it failed its Annual Yearly Progress report because students with disabilities did not meet their AYP targets.
Merrill, who is single, has two grown children, including a son, Lee Merrill, who lives in Lawrence. She has three grandchildren, including two in Lawrence.
"I have two (preschool) grandchildren who will eventually be in the Lawrence school district," she said.
Merrill was involved in the former Partnership for Children and Youth program in Lawrence and has been on the Lawrence Arts Commission for six years.
She received a doctorate in 1991 in school psychology from Kansas University.
"I think I have the background and the expertise to be a good board member," she said.
Board members whose four-year terms expire this year are Sue Morgan, Cindy Yulich, Rich Minder and Leonard Ortiz.
Minder has said he plans to run for re-election and Ortiz has said he is leaning against seeking another term. Yulich and Morgan both say they won't run again.
The filing deadline is noon Jan. 23. If more than eight candidates emerge, a primary will be Feb. 27. The election is April 3.