Throughout the race for the Member 6 seat on the Olathe Board of Education, member-elect Brian Connell raised about eight times as much as the incumbent.
He received a total of $9,320 in donations, while Brian Geary raised $1,400. While that's a substantial margin in a local school board race, both figures are dwarfed by the $60,000 raised by Julie Steele, who won a different seat on the board.
In November, Connell defeated Geary, the sitting board vice-president, by almost 1,800 votes. Connell will assume the seat in January during the first school board meeting of the New Year with two other newcomers.
Most Kansas school board races are not subject to the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission’s limits on campaign contributions from single donors due to their limited scope, unlike in City Council and statewide races. Contributions made in races for the Wichita school board, the largest district in Kansas, are limited to $500 per single party in a contested race.
School board member-elect Brian Connell turned in his campaign-finance report late Tuesday, …
Additionally, most school board races are not subject to the commission’s deadlines for campaign finance report submissions ahead of an election. Most of these documents pertaining to the Olathe school board race were only recently made available.
Connell and Geary were the only two candidates in the race for the Member 6 seat, which means they went straight to the general.
CONNELL’S DONATIONS AND EXPENSES
He came into this cycle with no money, as this is his first bid for public office. Between July 16 and Aug. 4, he put $1,600 of his own money into his campaign fund.
Connell also received $500 from Stephen Todd as well as $100 from Ryan Campbell, who both filed to run in the primary for a different school board seat and lost.
Judy Denton, Karen Rawlings, Thelma Denton and James Wright all contributed $500 apiece to Connell’s campaign.
Connell spent $471 on printed materials with DocuMart and $1,658 with Winning Edge print shop for yard signs and other campaign materials. He also spent nearly $600 at MicroCenter on various technology purchases.
He had about $31 left on hand after the election.
His campaign finance reports were submitted almost two weeks after the Dec. 2 deadline, after the reports were made public by the Johnson County Election Office.
GEARY’S DONATIONS AND EXPENSES
Geary came into the election with $1,177 from his previous bid in 2017, which he won unopposed. During this cycle, he raised an additional $1,400, which included a $500 loan from Geary and his wife Heather.
His most notable donor is former assistant principal from Olathe South High Candy Birch, who donated $25. Former deputy superintendent for the Olathe school district Alison Banikowski donated $50 as well.
Geary also received $250 from Olathe-based AAG Investments, which fellow school board member LeEtta Felter co-founded.
As far as expenses go, Geary paid Olathe-based Sir Speedy about $1,800 for signs. He also spent $200 for advertising with Seaton Publishing Co., which is the Olathe Reporter’s parent company.
He had no cash on hand at the conclusion of the 2021 election.