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Valdenia Winn

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Valdenia Winn
Valdenia Winn.jpg
Current candidacy
Running for Board member,
Kansas City Kansas Public Schools
Board of Education, At-large
General electionApril 7, 2015
Current office
Kansas House of Representatives District 34
In office
2001 - Present
Term ends
January 8, 2017
Years in position 14
Base salary$88.66/day
Per diem$129/day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
First elected2000
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sUniversity of Kansas, 1972
Master'sUniversity of Kansas, 1975
Ph.D.University of Kansas, 1993
Date of birthDecember 7, 1950
Place of birthKansas City, Kansas
Office website
Valdenia Winn is a Democratic member of the Kansas House of Representatives, representing District 34. She was first elected to the chamber in 2000. She is running for election to at-large representative on the Kansas City Kansas Public Schools Board of Education in the general election on April 7, 2015.

Winn earned her bachelor's in secondary education, her M.A. in history and her Ph.D. in history from the University of Kansas. Her professional experience includes working as a professor at Kansas City Community College.

Committee assignments

2015 legislative session

At the beginning of the 2015 legislative session, Winn served on the following committees:

Kansas Committee Assignments, 2015
Education, Ranking Minority Member
Education Budget, Ranking Minority Member
Federal and State Affairs
Administrative Rules and Regulations


At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Winn served on the following committees:


In the 2011-2012 legislative session, Winn served on the following committees:


In the 2009-2010 legislative session, Winn served on the following committees:


Policy positions

Winn's answers to the Kansas State Legislative Election 2008 Political Courage Test are available.

In the test she did not answer the question what her legislative priorities would be if elected.

  • H 2245 Fair credit reporting act, credit freeze. 02/05/2009
  • H 5003 Kansas constitutional amendment; equal rights; no discrimination based on sex. 01/23/2009[1]



See also: Kansas City Kansas Public Schools elections (2015)


Four seats on the Kansas City Board of Education are up for election on April 7, 2015. At-large incumbents George Breidenthal, Brenda Jones, Gloria Willis and Christal Watson's seats are up for election. Watson was the only incumbent not to file to run for re-election. The three incumbents seeking to retain their seats face the following five challengers: Irene Caudillo, Korri Hall-Thompson, Janey Humphries, Valdenia Winn and Maria Ysaac.[2]


This election will be held on April 7, 2015.


Winn reported no contributions or expenditures to the Wyandotte County Election Office as of February 12, 2015.[3]


Winn has been endorsed by MainPAC.[4]


See also: Kansas House of Representatives elections, 2014

Elections for the office of Kansas House of Representatives took place in 2014. A primary election was held on August 5, 2014, and a general election was held on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was June 2, 2014. Incumbent Valdenia Winn was unopposed in the Democratic primary and was unopposed in the general election.[5][6]


See also: Kansas House of Representatives elections, 2012

Winn won re-election in the 2012 election for Kansas House of Representatives District 34. Winn ran unopposed in the August 7 Democratic primary and was unopposed in the general election, which took place on November 6, 2012.[7]


See also: Kansas House of Representatives elections, 2010

Winn won re-election to the 34th District Seat in 2010 with no opposition. She was also unopposed in the Democratic primary. The general election took place on November 2, 2010.[8]


See also: Kansas House of Representatives elections, 2008

On November 4, 2008, Winn was re-elected to the 34th District Seat in the Kansas House of Representatives with no opposition.[9] She raised $12,527 for her campaign.[10]

Kansas House of Representatives, District 34
Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.pngValdenia Winn (D) 6,072 100%

What's at stake?


The KCKPS Board of Education is guaranteed to see at least one new member and could see as many as four new members join the board in the 2015 election. The district, like the rest of Kansas' public schools, was affected by state budget issues including a restructuring of state education financing in early 2015. Additionally, its election system could change from a spring cycle to a fall cycle.

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. Kansas City Kansas Public Schools was slated to lose about $1.4 million as a result of the cuts.[11]

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.[12]

KCKPS piano purchase criticized; district response
Kansas City Kansas Public Schools received a pointed note in the governor's announcement of the cuts. In his statement on the matter, Brownbeck's office said, "Recent media coverage of the purchase of a $48,000 grand piano is symptomatic of the inherent flaws in the current formula. That money could and should have been used to hire another teacher to reduce class sizes and help improve academic achievement."[13]

This statement referred to a piano recently purchased by the district to replace a piano used at Sumner Academy. District Superintendent Cynthia Lane responded to the governor's comment saying that the piano that the school replaced could no longer be repaired. The district also responded to the governor's suggestion that the funds should have been used to hire another teacher by noting that it used capital outlay funds to purchase the piano. Those funds, by law, cannot be spent on salaries.[14]

Lane further stated on her blog:

Recently, the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools (KCKPS) has been under attack for replacing a 50-year-old piano, one that was used every day in instruction. Our critics contend that we are wasting taxpayer money. In fact, some have gone so far as to say that our purchase of a grand piano is justification for cutting funding to public schools, and is a reason to change how schools are funded in Kansas. No, I am not kidding! Our piano purchase is under attack. Someone watching all of this grandstanding from afar, might interpret this to mean, stop buying pianos for schools and the state revenue shortfall will be solved![15]

—Cynthia Lane, KCKPS Superintendent, (2015), [16]

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."[11]

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.[12]

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.”[12]

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.[17][18]

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."[18]

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.[15]

—Sen. Tom Holland (D-3), (2015)[18]

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.”[18][19]

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.[20] 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.[21]

The bill was amended before being approved 21 to 18 by the Senate on February 26, 2015.[20] 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."[22]

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."[22]

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.[20]

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Winn's legislative campaigns is available dating back to 2000. Based on available campaign finance records, Winn's legislative campaigns raised a total of $72,499 during that time period. This information was last updated on June 13, 2013.[23]

Valdenia Winn's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Kansas State House, District 34 Won $11,025
2010 Kansas State House, District 34 Won $11,755
2008 Kansas State House, District 34 Won $12,527
2006 Kansas State House, District 34 Won $21,460
2004 Kansas State House, District 34 Won $5,090
2002 Kansas State House, District 34 Won $3,925
2000 Kansas State House, District 34 Won $6,717
Grand Total Raised $72,499


Winn won re-election to the Kansas House of Representatives in 2012. During that election cycle, Winn raised a total of $11,025.
Kansas House of Representatives 2012 election - Campaign Contributions
Top contributors to Valdenia Winn's campaign in 2012
Kansas Association of Realtors$1,000
Kansas Contractors Association$800
Gill, Mrs Della$500
Cerner Corp$500
Total Raised in 2012$11,025
Source: Follow the Money


Winn won re-election to the Kansas House of Representatives in 2010. During that election cycle, Winn raised a total of $11,755.


Winn won re-election to the Kansas House of Representatives in 2008. During that election cycle, Winn raised a total of $12,527.


Winn won re-election to the Kansas House of Representatives in 2006. During that election cycle, Winn raised a total of $21,460.


Winn won re-election to the Kansas House of Representatives in 2004. During that election cycle, Winn raised a total of $5,090.


Winn won re-election to the Kansas House of Representatives in 2002. During that election cycle, Winn raised a total of $3,925.


Winn won election to the Kansas House of Representatives in 2000. During that election cycle, Winn raised a total of $6,717.


Kansas Freedom Index

The Kansas Policy Institute, Kansas’s "first free market think tank," releases its legislator scorecard as a part of its Kansas Freedom Index for Kansas state representatives and senators once a year. The Score Card gives each legislator a score from 1%-100% based on how they voted in the prior legislative term on specific issues which the Kansas Policy Institute thought were pro-limited government policies.[24]


Valdenia Winn received a score of 40.0% in the 2013 index.[25]


See also: Kansas City Kansas Public Schools, Kansas
Kansas City Kansas Public Schools is located in Wyandotte County, Kan.
Kansas City Kansas Public Schools is located in Kansas City, the county seat of Wyandotte County, in northeastern Kansas. The county was home to an estimated 160,384 residents in 2013, according to the United States Census Bureau.[26] Kansas City Kansas Public Schools was the fifth-largest school district by enrollment in Kansas and served 20,499 students in the 2011-2012 school year.[27]


Wyandotte County underperformed compared to the rest of Kansas in terms of higher education achievement, median household income and poverty rate in 2013. The United States Census Bureau found that 15.5 percent of 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 Wyandotte County was $39,402 compared to $51,332 for the state. The poverty rate in the county was 23.9 percent compared to 13.7 percent for the entire state.[26]

Racial Demographics, 2013[26]
Race Wyandotte
County (%)
Kansas (%)
White 66.9 87.1
Black or African American 25.1 6.2
American Indian and Alaska Native 1.4 1.2
Asian 3.4 2.7
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.2 0.1
Two or More Races 3.1 2.7
Hispanic or Latino 27.1 11.2

Presidential Voting Pattern,
Wyandotte County[28]
Year Republican Vote Democratic Vote
2012 15,496 34,302
2008 16,506 39,865
2004 17,919 34,923
2000 14,024 32,411

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. 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.[29] This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.


Winn is currently the chairman/treasurer for the Northeast Coalition, treasurer for the Northeast Cooperative Council and a member of the Struggler's Hill/Roots Neighborhood Association. She is a member of the Governor's Council on Travel & Tourism and a previous member of the Health for All Kansas Steering Commission, Kansas Incorporated Strategic Planning Steering Committee, Governor's Council on Development of Including Kansas and Kansas Sesquicentennial Steering Commission.[30]

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See also

External links

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  1. Kansas Legislature - Bills Introduced by Member
  2. Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City Election Office, "2015 City/School Election Unofficial Candidate List," January 27, 2015
  3. Margaret Koenig, "Email correspondence with Frances D. Sheppard, Wyandotte County Election Office Assistant Election Commissioner," February 12, 2015
  4. MainePAC, "MainPAC Endorsements," accessed March 25, 2015
  5. Kansas Secretary of State, "2014 Primary Election - Official Vote Totals," accessed September 15, 2014
  6. Kansas Secretary of State, "Candidates for the 2014 General (unofficial)," accessed September 15, 2014
  7. C-SPAN, "Kansas - Summary Vote Results," accessed August 7, 2012
  8. Kansas Secretary of State, "2010 General Election - Official Vote Totals," accessed March 29, 2014
  9. Kansas Secretary of State, "2008 General Election - Official Vote Totals," accessed March 29, 2014
  10. Follow the Money, "Kansas 2008 - Candidates," accessed March 29, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 The Kansas City Star, "Gov. Sam Brownback is cutting aid to Kansas schools by $44.5 million," February 6, 2015
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 The Kansas City Star, "Legislative leaders unveil plan to fund Kansas schools with block grants," March 5, 2015
  13. Kansas Office of the Governor, "Media Releases: Governor Sam Brownback outlines additional budget actions," accessed February 12, 2015
  14. 41 Action News, "Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback cites Sumner Academy's $47K piano in announcing cuts," February 6, 2015
  15. 15.0 15.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  16. Kansas City Kansas Public Schools Blog, "Journal of a Superintendent: The Piano," February 6, 2015
  17. Open States, "SB 7 - Kansas 2015-2016 Regular Session," accessed March 26, 2015
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Lawrence Journal-World, "Kansas Senate passes Brownback’s school funding overhaul," March 16, 2015
  19. The Wichita Eagle, "Court reopens lawsuit as Kansas House narrowly passes school finance overhaul," March 14, 2015
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Kansas State Legislature, "Bills and Resolutions: SB171," accessed February 11, 2015
  21. Lawrence Journal-World, "Lawrence school board opposes moving local elections to November," February 9, 2015
  22. 22.0 22.1 The Wichita Eagle, "Moving local elections from spring to fall approved by Kansas Senate," February 26, 2015
  23., "Winn, Valdenia," accessed June 13, 2013
  24. Kansas Policy Institute, "Freedom Index," accessed March 31, 2014
  25. Ballotpedia, "2013 Kansas Policy Index," accessed March 10, 2015
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 United States Census Bureau, "Wyandotte County, Kansas," accessed December 30, 2014
  27. National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed January 15, 2014
  28. Wyandotte County/Kansas City Unified Government, "Election Results," accessed December 30, 2014
  29. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
  30. Project Vote Smart - Rep. Valdenia Winn Biography
Political offices
Preceded by
Kansas House of Representatives District 34
Succeeded by