Robert Kuhn, a former police officer, said he’s the best candidate for the Member 5 school board seat because he is “not trying to further a political career.”
“I'm doing it for my kids, and other kids in the district,” he said.
Kuhn said his background in law enforcement — which includes an investigative role in the military and a stint with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office — has equipped him for the task.
“I've learned to listen and get the facts before I make a decision,” he said.
Additionally, three of his four children are still in the Olathe school district at varying age levels, which he said means he’s fully invested in the success of the district.
“I want to make decisions for my kids,” he said. “I want to be a voice for them, and I want to hear what the other parents have to say.”
KEY ISSUES AND CONCERNS
Kuhn said one of his primary reasons for running is based on some of the actions the school board took last year with which he disagrees.
“I'm running for the school board to have a voice for our students and to hopefully make decisions that are geared more towards our students and not to somebody who has an agenda to further their political career,” he said.
He disagreed with the mask mandate put in place by the school board last year and continued this year. He’s also concerned about the amount of power he says the local teachers’ union has.
“I know some of the decisions that are coming up here soon, that the … the teachers union are pushing for I completely disagree with, trying to mandate vaccinations,” he said. “I'm going to push to not have the kids have to have the vaccination and possibly ... remove the mask.”
The current school board has not considered a vaccine mandate. The board has recommended vaccination if an individual is eligible.
“I've heard they're trying to get students, especially the athletes, to have the vaccination,” he said. “I can't remember where I read that. A couple other people that are running for the board have mentioned it.”
He also said he’d like to be a voice for parents. Part of that will be advocacy for transparency and parent-involved education.
“One of the big things, and I never really thought about it until they brought it up,” he said, “I think parents need to be involved throughout the school career.”
Another issue he’s concerned about is better recruitment and retention of teachers and educators within the district.
“I think we need a more diverse group of teachers in the school system and retaining the teachers that we have and getting new teachers in that are qualified,” he said.
Kuhn is one of two candidates running for the USD 233 Board of Education Member 5 seat. It is one of two seats that represents the east corner of the school district. The other candidate is Kristin Schultz, who was appointed to the seat in 2019 to fill a vacancy.
The race was not subject to a primary election in August since Schultz and Kuhn were the only two candidates to file. It is a nonpartisan election.
The election is on Nov. 2.
Early voting begins by mail on Wednesday, Oct. 13 and in-person on Saturday, Oct. 23. A list of ballot drop-off spots and early voting sites is available here.