Goals, bond perspectives among lead topics in KVOE Candidate Forum on Tuesday Featured

Jeff Lutes (from left), Mallory Koci and Jeremy Dorsey appeared on KVOE Candidate Forum on Tuesday. Jeff Lutes (from left), Mallory Koci and Jeremy Dorsey appeared on KVOE Candidate Forum on Tuesday. Chuck Samples/KVOE News

Tuesday's candidates for USD 253 Emporia Board of Education say they have similar yet different goals if they are elected to the board.

Incumbent Mallory Koci and newcomers Jeremy Dorsey and Jeff Lutes made their comments on KVOE's Candidate Forum -- the first of two involving school board candidates this week. Koci, an Emporia State professor, wants to ensure quality of education, employee support and a welcoming atmosphere districtwide. She also wants to see equal access to education across Emporia.

Dorsey, an attorney with Kansas Legal Services, says safety and security is a focal point for him. He says the Columbine school shooting 20 years ago is still fresh in his mind.

Lutes, a co-founder of Hope DS and an information technology specialist, says he wants to continue the good work of the current board.

All three candidates support the $78 million facility improvement bond designed to improve safety and security, renovate or expand academic space and augment special needs opportunities. Dorsey says "it's the right thing to do."

Lutes says safety and security needs must be addressed, and the bond provides a good way to do so.

Koci says she supports the bond -- and she supports the matter going to the public for a vote.

After a burst of concerns earlier this summer about transparency, especially when it dealt with the overall cost of the bond in relation to another bond sunsetting next year and the potential interest payments attached with this venture, the trio of candidates on air Tuesday say the district was as transparent as possible.

Both Lutes and Koci also support replacing Maynard Early Childhood Center with a new facility, while Dorsey wants to see how the bond vote goes Nov. 5 before deciding how to proceed with Maynard.

KVOE's Candidate Forum series concludes Thursday with incumbents Art Gutierrez and Grant Riles on the program along with newcomer Leslie Seeley. The forum begins at 10:06 am on 14 KVOE, 96.9 FM and KVOE.com.

All KVOE's Candidate Forums to date are online in the KVOE.com Audio Vault.

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