Joe Beveridge

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Joe Beveridge
Joe Beveridge.jpg
Board member,
Olathe Public Schools
Board of Education,
At-large Position 7
Assumes office
July 1, 2015
Elections and appointments
Last electionApril 7, 2015
First electedApril 7, 2015
Next general2019
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sUniversity of Kansas
Master'sUniversity of Nebraska at Omaha
ProfessionEnvironmental consulting
Office website
Campaign website
Joe Beveridge campaign logo
Ballotpedia's school board candidate survey
Joe Beveridge the member-elect for at-large Position 7 representative on the Olathe Public Schools USD 233 Board of Education in Kansas. He ran for a four-year term on the board. He advanced from the primary election on March 3, 2015, to the general election on April 7, 2015.

While the school board is a nonpartisan political body, Beverage was a 2012 Republican candidate for District 21 of the Kansas State Senate.


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Beveridge is the owner and president of Solid Ground Environmental, an environmental consulting service. He earned his bachelor's degress in biology and environmental studies from the University of Kansas and his M.S. in biology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He is married and his children attend district schools.[1]

Beveridge has served on the following committees:[1]

  • Manchester Park Elementary School Site Council
  • 2012 Olathe Bond Task Force
  • Olathe Chamber of Commerce Business to Government Committee
  • United Methodist Church of the Resurrection Board of Trustees
  • Lenexa Chamber of Commerce Legislative Affairs Committee
  • Tenth Judicial District Nominating Committee



See also: Olathe Public Schools USD 233 elections (2015)


Four seats were up for election on April 7, 2015. A primary election for the at-large Position 7 seat was held March 3, 2015.

Position 1 incumbent LeEtta Felter defeated challenger Jim Poe in her re-election bid, while Position 2 incumbent Richard Schier retained his seat without facing opposition. Shannon Wickliffe won the Position 4 seat as she was the only candidate to file for the open seat.[2]

Four candidates filed for the open at-large Position 7: Joe Beveridge, Scott Enge, Robyn Essex and Elizabeth Howerton.[2] Because more than three candidates filed for the position, a primary election was held. Essex and Beveridge advanced to the general election, where Beveridge won the seat.


Olathe Public Schools USD 233,
At-Large Position 7 General Election, 4-year term, 2015
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJoe Beveridge 52% 3,777
     Nonpartisan Robyn Essex 48% 3,487
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.1% 5
Total Votes 7,269
Source: Johnson County Election Office, "Election Summary Report 2015 Spring General," April 13, 2015
Olathe Public Schools USD 233,
At-Large Position 7 Primary Election, 4-year term, 2015
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngRobyn Essex 43.3% 1,413
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJoe Beveridge 35.2% 1,147
     Nonpartisan Scott Enge 11.8% 386
     Nonpartisan Elizabeth Howerton 9.7% 317
Total Votes 3,263
Source: Johnson County Election Office, “Election Summary Report 2015 Spring Primary: Official Final Results,” accessed March 3, 2015


Beveridge reported no contributions or expenditures to the Johnson County Election Office as of April 6, 2015.[3]


Beveridge was endorsed by the following:

  • Lenexa Mayor Mike Boehm
  • Lenexa City Council Members Tom Nolte and Diane Linver
  • Overland Park Mayor Carl Gerlach
  • Olathe Mayor Pro Tem Jim Randall
  • Olathe City Council Member Wes McCoy
  • MainPAC[4]
  • The Kansas City Star.[5]


See also: Kansas State Senate elections, 2012

Beveridge ran in the 2012 election for Kansas State Senate District 21. He lost to incumbent Greg Smith in the Republican primary on August 7. The general election took place on November 6, 2012.[6][7]

Kansas State Senate, District 21 Republican Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngGreg Smith 52.1% 3,581
Joe Beveridge 47.9% 3,290
Total Votes 6,871

What was at stake?


Two newcomers were guaranteed to join the board, and one incumbent was guaranteed to retain his seat in the 2015 school board election. Only newcomers filed for Positions 4 and 7, and incumbent Richard Schier was unopposed in his re-election bid for Position 2. District 1 incumbent LeEtta Felter was the only incumbent to file and face a challenger, Jim Poe.

Olathe Public Schools, like the rest of Kansas's public schools, saw funding cuts from the state in early 2015. However, district residents also approved a 2 percent increase in the local option budget in January 2015. Additionally, its election system could change from a spring nonpartisan system to a fall partisan system.

Issues in the district

State education funding cuts
See also: Kansas state budget and finances

Governor of Kansas Sam Brownback (R) proposed on February 5, 2015, that $44.5 million should be cut from state funding for education to make up for budgetary shortcomings. Income tax reductions recently signed into law by the governor have been blamed for the significant shortfall. Of the total cuts Brownback suggested, $28 million were from elementary and secondary education funding, while another $16 million were taken from higher education funding. Olathe Public Schools was poised to lose about $1.5 million as a result of the cuts.[8]

Critics of Brownback have pointed to his campaign promises supporting education in 2013. Kansas State Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley (D-19) called the move, “just another deception [Brownbeck] put upon the voters of Kansas." Brownback's spokesperson, however, has stated that the governor “has consistently maintained that the education funding formula is broken and reform is needed to ensure more money goes to the classroom to benefit Kansas students."[8]

Gov. Sam Brownback (R)

Kansas faces a budget deficit of $600 million with the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2015. Following income tax cuts championed by Gov. Brownback and passed by the Legislature in 2012 and 2013, the state must reassess its spending and consider new forms of revenue. These may include raising taxes on cigarettes and alcohol or changing tax assessments for farmland, gasoline, and sales and passive income.[9]

Legislative response
In response to Brownback's proposal, the Kansas State Legislature outlined a plan in March 2015 to fund public schools with block grants for two years while they rewrite the school funding formula. According to The Kansas City Star, the block grants would provide an increase of more than $4.2 billion for the 2016-2017 school year, which would represent a 9 percent increase from the 2013-2014 allocations. Additionally, the block grants would return the 2014-2015 district allocations to the amounts they were set at before Brownback announced his planned budget cuts. Whether or not these funds actually indicate an increase in classroom spending and how the Legislature would pay for the increase in funding remained unclear as of the bill's introduction.[9]

Democratic legislators criticized the bill, arguing that the majority of the additional funding would go toward retirement and meeting the requirements of a 2014 Kansas Supreme Court ruling mandating more funding for schools. Sen. Hensley argued, "Their proposal does not do what they claim it’s going to do. It does not allocate $300 million in new money, nor does it put more money into the classroom.”[9]

Sen. Susan Wagle (R-30)

In a 64 to 57 vote on March 13, 2015, the House of Representatives approved Senate Bill 7, a plan to overhaul the state's 13-year-old school finance system. State law required at least 63 votes in favor of the measure for it to pass the House. The bill was immediately moved back to the Senate. This prevented any motions to reconsider the House vote from being made. On March 16, 2015, the Senate approved the revised bill 25 to 14. Because the bill sent back from the House had been a Senate bill with additions from the House, senators only had to vote yes or no to the House revisions and were not able to offer amendments. The bill was signed into law by Brownbeck on March 25, 2015.[10][11]

The approved bill would replace the current system with block grants for two years while the funding formula is overhauled. Republican leaders argued that the state's funding formula, which is based on a per-pupil formula and includes weighting for bilingual and low-income students, was broken. Senate President Susan Wagle (R-30), who voted in favor of the old formula in 1992 and in favor of SB 7, said, "We are no longer talking about student outcomes and student achievement. We’re fighting for money."[11]

Sen. Tom Holland (D-3)

Not all of her colleagues agreed that SB 7 was a solution to education funding woes. Some senators objected to how quickly the bill was passed and to the lack of discussion before the final Senate vote on the matter. Sen. Tom Holland (D-3) voted against the measure and said:

While Charles and David Koch may have won this particular battle, Kansas families can at least take some small measure of comfort in knowing that our Kansas courts — as yet uncorrupted by the supply-side ideology cancer that has metastasized Kansas’ legislative and executive branches of government — that they are keeping a watchful eye on this Legislature’s actions.[12]

—Sen. Tom Holland (D-3), (2015)[11]

Judicial response
Holland was referencing judicial action taken the same day the House passed SB 7, when a three-judge district court panel ordered the reopening of a school funding lawsuit that had been settled in 2014. The lawsuit was settled after the Legislature equalized funding between districts through increased allocations, but the new court order reopened the equity portion of the case. It also added new state officials to the list of defendants in the case, including the state treasurer and revisor of statutes. The panel announced that it might issue temporary orders blocking the recent legislative action if necessary "to preserve the status quo and to assure the availability of relief, if any, that might be accorded should the Court deem relief warranted.”[11][13]

SB 171
Sen. Mitch Holmes (R-33) introduced SB 171 on February 9, 2015.

On February 9, 2015, Sen. Mitch Holmes (R-33) introduced Senate Bill 171 to the Ethics, Elections and Local Government Committee. The bill, as it was initially introduced, would have moved school board and other local elections to November in even-numbered years, in addition to changing school boards from their current nonpartisan status by requiring candidates to declare party affiliations.[14] Supporters claimed that moving the school board elections to a date when there are more elections would increase voter turnout for such races as well as reduce the costs of printing the number of current ballot variations. Others questioned whether or not a move would actually improve turnout, as it would place school board elections on an already lengthy ballot.[15]

The bill was amended before being approved 21 to 18 by the Senate on February 26, 2015.[14] The approved version would move school board and other local elections to the November general election date in odd-numbered years. It removed the language that would have made those elections partisan. During the debate of the revised version, Holmes expressed frustration with the resistance to moving local elections. He argued that such a move would increase voter turnout and bring greater transparency to local government, saying that such offices are "elected on a day that nobody notices."[16]

Holmes also argued that the disproportionately white city council of Ferguson, Mo., was caused by holding off-year elections and postulated that "minorities vote better in on-cycle elections than off-cycle elections." Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau (D-29), the first African American woman elected to the State Senate and one of the two African American members of the body, dismissed this argument, saying, “I don’t live in Ferguson. I don’t know anybody who lived there. ... We’re here in Kansas."[16]

On March 4, 2015, the revised Senate bill was introduced in the House of Representatives. The House Elections Committee recommended the revised bill be approved with some amendments regarding date changes in the law on March 19, 2015.[14]

Local option budget question

On January 27, 2015, a mail ballot election approved a 2 percent increase in the district's local option budget (LOB). The LOB provides funding from local funding for teachers and classroom instruction to supplement the district's general fund, which was set at 31 percent by the state. School districts were allowed to increase their LOBs by two percent in 2014. While the board approved the increase, it had to be voted upon by district residents to remain in place. According to materials provided by the school district, $4 million in the school budget would have been cut or reallocated if the question had not passed.[17]

Voters approved the LOB increase by over 79 percent. Turnout for the vote was 27.99 percent.[18]

Olathe Public Schools USD No. 233 Question (2015)
Approveda Yes 18,794 79.11%

About the district

See also: Olathe Public Schools USD 233, Kansas
Olathe Public Schools USD 233 is located in Johnson County, Kan.
Olathe Public Schools USD 233 is located in Johnson County in northeastern Kansas. The county seat of Johnson County is Olathe. Johnson County was home to an estimated 566,933 residents in 2013, according to the United States Census Bureau.[19] Olathe Public Schools was the fourth-largest school district by enrollment in Kansas and served 28,182 students in the 2011-2012 school year.


Johnson County outperformed the rest of Kansas in terms of higher education achievement in 2013. The United States Census Bureau found that 51.7 percent of Johnson County residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 30.3 percent for Kansas as a whole. The median household income in Johnson County was $74,717 compared to $51,332 for the state of Kansas. The poverty rate in Johnson County was 6.5 percent compared to 13.7 percent for the entire state.[19]

Racial Demographics, 2013[19]
Race Johnson
County (%)
Kansas (%)
White 87.8 87.1
Black or African American 4.9 6.2
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.4 1.2
Asian 4.6 2.7
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.0 0.1
Two or More Races 2.3 2.7
Hispanic or Latino 7.4 11.2

Presidential Voting Pattern,
Johnson County[20]
Year Republican Vote Democratic Vote
2012 158,401 110526
2008 152,627 127,091
2004 158,103 97,866
2000 129,965 79,118

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin rather than a race. Citizens may report both their race and their place of origin, and as a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table may exceed 100 percent.[21][22]

Recent news

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See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Joe Beveridge for Olathe, "About Joe," accessed February 11, 2015
  2. 2.0 2.1 Johnson County Election Office, "Candidates - Spring 2015 Unofficial Listing," accessed January 28, 2015
  3. Johnson County Elections Office, "Campaign & Committee Reports," accessed April 6, 2015
  4. MainePAC, "MainPAC Endorsements," accessed March 25, 2015
  5. The Kansas City Star, "Editorial: Strong school leaders needed in stormy times," March 24, 2015
  6. Kansas Secretary of State, "Candidates for the 2012 primary (unofficial)," accessed July 16, 2012
  7. Kansas Secretary of State, Official 2012 Primary Results
  8. 8.0 8.1 The Kansas City Star, "Gov. Sam Brownback is cutting aid to Kansas schools by $44.5 million," February 6, 2015
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 The Kansas City Star, "Legislative leaders unveil plan to fund Kansas schools with block grants," March 5, 2015
  10. Open States, "SB 7 - Kansas 2015-2016 Regular Session," accessed March 26, 2015
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Lawrence Journal-World, "Kansas Senate passes Brownback’s school funding overhaul," March 16, 2015
  12. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  13. The Wichita Eagle, "Court reopens lawsuit as Kansas House narrowly passes school finance overhaul," March 14, 2015
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Kansas State Legislature, "Bills and Resolutions: SB171," accessed February 11, 2015
  15. Lawrence Journal-World, "Lawrence school board opposes moving local elections to November," February 9, 2015
  16. 16.0 16.1 The Wichita Eagle, "Moving local elections from spring to fall approved by Kansas Senate," February 26, 2015
  17. Olathe Public Schools, "Frequently Asked Questions About the L.O.B.," accessed February 11, 2-15
  18. Jefferson County Clerk, "USD MAIL BALLOT ELECTION: OFFICIAL FINAL REPORTS," February 2, 2015
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 United States Census Bureau, "Johnson County, Kansas," accessed December 30, 2014
  20. Johnson County Election Office, "Election History by Year," accessed December 30, 2014
  21. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
  22. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off from being exactly 100 percent. This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.