Many school board elections will take place in the next month in southeast Kansas. While Baxter Springs, Galena, Northeast and Pittsburg have seen challengers for the school board seats, other communities have incumbents running unopposed.
Frontenac and Girard both say they have three seats for positions running unopposed. Seats in other communities are left empty.
The Kansas Association of School Boards says in the last 12 years school districts across the state have consistently had 50 to 70 seats empty, some of which come from the Riverton School District like the seat now filled by Danny Anderson.
"At the time nobody had filed for the district, as far as the January 5th deadline and so I did go ahead to elect to run as a write in," says Anderson.
Now, Riverton has another open seat without a candidate. When no one is available to fill a school board seat voters can either write in a candidate or the board can appoint someone.
"For the past few years we've been in somewhat declining state of enrollment, relatively steady, but small decline from year to year," says Riverton School District Superintendent Todd Berry. "One of the biggest reasons is the economy, actually. A large percentage of our population are outside of the Riverton School District and as fuel prices have gone up over the past few years and certainly since the economy went south, we've seen decreases over those numbers."
Anderson says just a little bit of time can go a long way in creating a successful school district.
"There are lots of reasons people can give as to why people don't want to get involved and time is probably the greatest one," says Anderson. "Education has been a huge part of my life. I taught school for 38 years and this is my community and this is giving back to what I got from the community."