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Wichita BOE Candidates Express Their Support For Superintendent Alicia Thompson

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Ben Blankley and Betty Arnold at the Voter Empowerment Forum in late September.

The race for District 1 on the Wichita Public Schools Board of Education is between a current board member and an engineer who works at Spirit AeroSystems.

Voters will decide Tuesday if Betty Arnold continues on the board for a third term, or if Ben Blankley gets a chance to serve.

Arnold is one of the longest serving BOE members. At a recent forum, she said she was optimistic about options that Superintendent Alicia Thompson has made toward improving staffing at schools in District 1.

"Those of you who might know a little bit about sports, where the worst schools might get the opportunity to have a selection of the best teachers, and I certainly am in support of that," Arnold said.

Blankley said he’s encouraged by the superintendent’s first months on the job.

He said the new Superintendent’s Cup, an academic competition for student-athletes, is a good addition.

"I think that’s really exciting to show a little additional friendly competition to our student-athletes to say, 'Hey yay, hit the books—let’s do well in all areas of our lives,'" Blankley said.

District 1 covers east and northeast Wichita. People who live in the Wichita School District can vote in all four district races on Election Day.


Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.


Deborah joined the news team at KMUW in September 2014 as a news reporter. She spent more than a dozen years working in news at both public and commercial radio and television stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan. Before relocating to Wichita in 2013, Deborah taught news and broadcasting classes at Tarrant County College in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.