Feb. 8, 2019 – Editor’s note: this article continues a series to profile each candidate running for Excelsior Springs City Council and the Excelsior Springs Board of Education. Excelsior Springs residents Thomas Shue and Carl A. Harper filed to oppose incumbent Brent McElwee in his quest to retain his currently held seat of the City Council. Challenger Kalyn Goode will oppose incumbents Darren Mc- Kown and Tray Harkins for the school board. The election will be held April 2.
The current president of the Excelsior Springs Board of Education wants to continue the trend of bringing the best educators to the students of Excelsior.
Tray Harkins said he began serving on the school board approximately 12 years ago. He said when he started, the district battled constant turnover of the teachers and staff, issues that have improved with time.
“We’ve hired experienced and talented administrators as well as teachers and we’ve reduced our turnover,” he
During his tenure, he said he helped change the culture of the district. He said the board currently works to iron out the details of new things that will continue to assist the staff and administration of the district. He said he hopes the board will also be able to increase the salary schedule for the district’s teachers.
Working as a mortgage banker for the past 20 years, he said provides the experience he needs to help guide the board through budgetary concerns and other financial matters.
He said he also provides a needed level of experience provided by his more than a decade of service to the district.
“I think I’ve done a good job for the 12 years I’ve been on there,” he said. “I think we’ve made some errors, but we fixed them which is part of learning.”
Harkins said he helped to work out the district’s long-range facility plan and wants to see the plan fulfilled and the new schools built.
The plan proposes a 19-cent tax increase to be added to property taxes. The plan proposes new buildings for Westview Elementary and Lewis Elementary, an expansion to Elkhorn Elementary, tearing down the old hallways at the current Westview location and moving the Early Childhood Education Center to the site. They also hope to perform improvements and remodel work to the middle and high schools.
The plan also includes the demolition of the old Monterey Motel with a new transportation plan to be added to Lewis. Harkins said he hopes the plan will go through for the good of the district.
“I think we’ve had a good run and, hopefully, it continues and we get these schools