Two candidates drop out of Lawrence school board race

Lawrence USD 497 school board

The number of active candidates vying for the three open positions on the Lawrence school board has been reduced by two.

Jill Hayhurst and Steve Wallace have announced they have withdrawn from the race for the school board.

“After further consideration and with two young children, I have decided the district would be better served by other candidates,” said Wallace, who is a social studies teacher at Tecumseh’s Shawnee Heights High School, where he also coaches the boys basketball team. “It is something I am open to exploring in the future.”

Steve Wallace

Hayhurst, who was working as a resource and capacity manager at Hallmark Cards’ corporate offices in Kansas City, Mo., when she filed, said changing circumstances in her life would prevent her from committing the time necessary to serve on the school board.

Jill Hayhurst

Although Hayhurst and Wallace are no longer actively campaigning and will not take part in any candidate forums, their names will still appear on the Nov. 7 ballot. Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew said a change in Kansas election statute does not allow candidates to remove their names from the ballot after the June 1 filing deadline.

The legislation was passed in response to Democrat Chip Taylor dropping out of the 2014 race for the U.S. Senate. His departure from the race set up a two-way race between incumbent Republican Pat Roberts and independent Greg Orman. Although he prevailed in the race, polls showed Roberts trailing for much of the campaign.

James Hollinger, Ronald “G.R.” Gordon-Ross, Melissa Johnson, Kelly Jones and Gretchen Lister continue to campaign for the three Lawrence school board seats on the Nov. 7 ballot. The three candidates with the most votes will be elected and take seats on the board in January.