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Observer Corps Report

Eileen Marshall | Published on 2/2/2021

Shawnee Mission School Board

Dec. 21, 2020

Submitted by Lisa Bonds

The meeting started with 11 public comments. All comments discussed the Shawnee Mission North mascot.  Only three speakers supported keeping the Indian mascot. The board had a first reading of a policy to replace the mascots around the district by the end of the school year.  

The board unanimously approved several actions at the meeting.  

  1. Allowed a US Latin Literature course to help meet the English graduation requirements.  

  2. Approved the use of capital outlay funds to be used for salaries. 

  3. Increased pay for classified positions.  Most classified staff will receive a larger paycheck starting January 22, but difficult-to-fill positions will receive additional pay increases. 

  4. Approved the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school year calendars.  

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Overland Park City Council

Jan. 13, 2021

Submitted by Janet Milkovich

The City Council met in the Overland Park Convention Center. Eleven members were present and one participated virtually. It was announced that meetings will be held virtually through the end of February, possibly longer if necessary.

The Mayor proclaimed Jan. 18, 2021 MLK Day.

There was a prolonged and at times heated discussion about the proposed Ranch Mart South development. This project has twice been presented for approval to the City Council and was the subject of a vigorous protest movement by surrounding residents. After the first time, the Council sent it back to the City Planning Commission for revisions. Proposed changes were made and approved by the City Planning Commission and brought back before the City Council.   The development was denied by a vote of 9 to 2 with one member abstaining.

The next meeting will be held on Jan. 25, 2021.

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Prairie Village City Council 

Dec. 21, 2020

Submitted by Nancy Kalikow Maxwell

The Prairie Village City Council met virtually on Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. The meeting began with a formal recognition of Chief of Police Tim Schwartzkopf, who is retiring after 27 years with the police force. The Mayor thanked him for his work on behalf of the city, which Schwartzkopf will be able to continue in his new position as Assistant City Administrator.

The Council voted to approve a one-time, year-end bonus to city employees, in the amount of 1.5% of their salary, in recognition of the extraordinary work done throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Following an extensive discussion, the Council decided upon a process they will use to formulate and rank their 2021 legislative platform.

Prairie Village City Council

Jan. 4, 2021

Submitted by Nancy Kalikow Maxwell

The Prairie Village City Council met virtually on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. Dr. Jameelah Lang and Rev. Dennis Solis presented an update on the recently-formed Diversity Task Force. From the group’s 20 proposed recommendations, the Council took action on their two top suggestions: 

1. That a permanent Diversity Committee be formed.

2. That the city investigate any actions needed to review existing Prairie Village homeowners associations’ exclusionary deed restrictions.  

Following extensive discussion, both recommendations were approved by the Council. City staff will be asked to bring forward a proposal for establishing the Diversity Committee for consideration at a forthcoming meeting of the Committee of the Whole. Staff will also be asked to investigate what, if any, action is needed to identify issues and options concerning the housing restrictions.

The Council approved the appointment of Byron Roberson as the new Chief of Police. They also approved the 2021 legislative platform incorporating their 7 top priorities with the legislative agenda of the League of Kansas Municipalities.

To read more, click here.