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Betty Arnold Upsets Incumbent To Win Seat On State School Board

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Abigail Beckman
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KMUW/File Photo

Democrat Betty Arnold won the state of Board Education’s 8th District seat against Republican incumbent Kathy Busch.

An incumbent board member has not been defeated in any of the board’s 10 districts since 2012.

The 8th District covers Wichita, home to the state’s largest school district.

Arnold served on the Wichita Board of Education from 2007 to 2018.

She said she would have voted to uphold Gov. Laura Kelly’s order this summer to postpone the reopening of schools. The board voted to allow local school districts to make the decision whether to delay reopening schools.

“I’ve been very, very concerned about the workload on our teachers, the message we’ve been sending out for future educators,” Arnold said.

She used the state board’s decision to equip each student with an individualized educational plan as an example.

“There’s nothing wrong with that,” she said. “But if you add work on, you should take work off.”

Arnold wants decision-making to be a more collaborative experience between the board and parents, staff and administrators, especially when it comes to remote-learning.

“There are a number of little tweaks that could be made,” Arnold said. “I am not from the perspective that everything that we’ve done is wrong, nor am I from the perspective that everything we’ve done is right.

“We need to work together if we’re going to find a solution to this problem.”

Nicole Grimes is an intern in the KMUW News Lab. She is a senior in Wichita State University's Elliott School of Communication.