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Wichita Schools BOE Incumbent Wins Re-Election, Three Newcomers Elected

District 5 incumbent Mike Rodee, along with newly elected Wichita school board members Ben Blankley, District 1, Julie Hedrick, District 2 and Ron Rosales, District 6 will start their terms in January.

Voters in the Wichita School District elected three new members to the Board of Education and re-elected the board president to a second term.

Unofficial results from Tuesday’s election show Ben Blankley beat incumbent Betty Arnold for the District 1 seat by 123 votes. Blankley is an engineer with Spirit AeroSystems and this was his first political campaign.

"I have to say I was extremely surprised at really how grassroots it actually was," Blankley said. "I got some help in the beginning from some experienced campaigners, but a lot of the campaign I basically had to run myself."

Blankley said he’ll work to bring transparency to the board.

"I think it’s not only just in what you say but what you do. Basically, having more discussions," Blankley said.

In District 5, Mike Rodee was re-elected for a second term with 63 percent of the vote over Peter Grant.

"This is something that I enjoy doing," Rodee said. "It’s nice to go see the kids and see what they are learning and how they are learning, so I appreciate the opportunity to get to continue to do that for another four years."

Rodee will continue as board president through June.

Julie Hedrick defeated two candidates for the District 2 seat. She worked for 28 years in the district and said she’s looking forward to her new volunteer role.

"It was close. It was a close race," Hedrick said. "I was glad that it stayed pretty much the same through the whole race, but it wasn’t over until it was over."

Ron Rosales will represent District 6. He held the lead over two candidates and won with 48 percent of the vote.

"There’s a lot I have to learn," Rosales said. "The interesting thing that I want a lot of people to understand is that there are a lot of seats that are changing. People, if they want change, then they definitely got change. The next step is to really put it into action."

The board members will begin their new terms in January.

The Board of Education appointed Stan Reeser to represent District 4 in September after Jeff Davis vacated the seat because he moved out of the Wichita school district.

On Monday, Board MemberBarbara Fuller announced her resignation after moving out of District 3. The board is expected to appoint a replacement in the coming weeks.

Both of these seats will be up for election in two years.


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.