Shawnee Mission School District hires lobbyist on a year-long contract
Shawnee Mission USD 512 will have one person on their side in Topeka again next year.
The Board of Education approved the contract of lobbyist Stuart Little to provide services as a government relations consultant throughout the coming 12 months.
Under the agreement, Little will earn $48,205, along with reimbursements for expenses not to exceed $2,000.
Superintendent Gene Johnson said having a lobbyist at the Kansas Legislature was a must for the district.
“We all know we’re in for a tough financial times and our lobbyist is absolutely critical to us. At the end of next year our reserves will be at an absolute all-time low, that’s a issue,” he said.
Johnson said he was in contact with Little on a daily basis to keep up to date with business in Topeka.
“He does all the testifying for us and has a really good relationship with legislators,” Johnson said.
Board President Larry Winn said he would like a bit more contact between the board and Little.
“Everyone here has the means to chip in when need be,” he said.
The board also approved to continue the district’s membership with the Kansas Association of School Boards. The annual contract included member dues of $18,697 and legal assistance fund membership of $1,400.
Winn told the board that he had previously been reluctant to renew the membership, but after attended a meeting with the new executive director, John Heim, he changed his mind.
Winn said that Heim seemed to be sensitive to the plight of the three large Johnson County school districts - Shawnee Mission, Blue Valley and Olathe.
“That organization needs to play a big role in discussions and be at the table with hopefully a unified voice,” Winn said of talks in Topeka.