Archive for Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Loveland, Harmon win school board primary, will face off in April 7 general election

Mary Loveland and Marcel Harmon

Mary Loveland and Marcel Harmon

March 3, 2015


Mary Loveland and Marcel Harmon, the two candidates with experience serving on the Lawrence school board, beat out their two other opponents in Tuesday's primary election for a two-year term on the district's governing body.

Loveland, a 20-year board veteran who last had a seat in 2011, and Harmon, who was appointed to the board last summer after another member resigned, will go head to head in the April 7 election.

They defeated Norine Spears, a self-employed graphic artist, and Kelly Spurgeon, a program consultant at the Kansas State Department of Education.

Also on the ballot for April 7 will be seven other candidates vying for four other seats for four-year terms.

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Unofficial counts had Loveland leading the way with 2,698 votes, followed by Harmon, 2,194; Spurgeon, 1,545; and Spears, 1,393. On the night, a total of 8,696 voters cast ballots in the primaries, a turnout of about 14 percent.

"I'm honored and appreciative of people's confidence in me," Loveland said. "I'm pretty excited. It's an indicator they were reasonably comfortable with my service in the past."

Loveland added she was "really impressed" with the other three candidates and did not enter the evening feeling confident.

Harmon said he was "cautiously optimistic" about the outcome.

"I'm obviously pretty happy about it," he said. "I think (voters) think what I've done (on the board) has been useful."

Spears and Spurgeon were unavailable for comment Tuesday.

Loveland, 66, served on the board from 1987 to 2003. After supporting the closure of several schools, she was voted out in 2003, but won a seat back in 2007, serving until 2011. She declined to run after that term with the health of her late husband in decline. Outside the school board she's worked as a homemaker and an active community volunteer.

Loveland has said she is running without an agenda or cause, other than the general importance of ensuring a quality education for children. She cites her experience on the board and her knowledge of the district as an asset.

Last summer, Harmon, 47, was chosen over Loveland by the school board's other six members to fill in a vacated seat. Harmon is an applied anthropologist for M.E. Group, where he studies how people interact with buildings. He has volunteered for several local school groups and spent two years on the statewide Kansas Next Generation Science Standard Review Committee.

Harmon has said he can lend his engineering expertise to the ongoing $92.5 million undertaking that will improve every school building in the district. He's also said that he will advocate on behalf of Lawrence schools to state legislators.

The seven candidates running for the four-year seats are Jessica Beeson, a director of alumni and community engagement at KU; Bob Byers, an administrator for the Kansas Department for Children and Families, who first joined the board in 2009; Jill Fincher, a Lawrence Schools Foundation board member; Lindsey Frye, a medical claims collector; Ronald "G.R." Gordon-Ross, a health care IT professional; Rick Ingram, a Kansas University professor of clinical psychology, who was elected to the board in 2011; and Shannon Kimball, an attorney who was elected to the board in 2011 and serves as president.

Candidate Votes
Mary L. Loveland 2,677
Marcel J. Harmon 2,172
Kelly Spurgeon 1,525
Norine Spears 1,378
Precincts reporting 79 of 86


Sean Smith 3 years ago

Hope the community of Lawrence does not look to the past to solve the very significant challenges of the future! Some of the challenges we have are due to what was not addressed in the past and thus, we need innovative solutions that are not embedded in past experiences but seek to look outside the box and realize the demands of the 21st century are not aligned with the needs of the 20th century. For example, look at the current state of LHS. A building with 22 very unsecured entry doors, a extremely diverse group of students with significant learning needs, and yet, we appear to support them through resources and budget allocations as if they were identical to Free State. Equity does not mean equal resources but instead, equity would be basing resources and support on what is fair. Different thinking and again, let's look to the future and nt the past for these solutions.

Richard Heckler 3 years ago

If my memory serves me well Loveland has been voted out twice because of her opposition to keeping neighborhood schools in operation and failing to fund existing schools as necessary. Which basically means failing to maintain the structures thinking they would be demolished in favor of spending millions upon millions on much larger buildings elsewhere in the city. Myself and many others sat in lots of school board meetings challenging the Loveland position.

Perhaps that is the BOE logic for choosing Harmon over Loveland. Then again I have no clue. Harmon brings a lot to the table.

Now the district is on the right track which has been documented by voter support of the school bond issue.... which I applaud.

Clara Westphal 3 years ago

Which schools will Loveland want to close next?

Cille King 3 years ago

"Last summer, Harmon, 47, was chosen over Loveland by the school board's other six members to fill in a vacated seat."

Or more discriptively: Last summer, Harmon, 47, was unanimously chosen over Loveland and several other applicants by the school board's other six members to fill in a a vacated seat.

Doug Weston 3 years ago

And, let's not forget that Loveland created her own school boundary "exemption" so her daughter could attend Free State instead of Lawrence High. Ah, to be part of the 1%. It would be nice.

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