Category Archives: PTA

School Funding in Jeopardy in Kansas

The Shawnee Mission School District provides valuable learning opportunities to our children, preparing them for future learning and for success in life. We are right to be proud of what our students accomplish and grateful for the chances they have. We should also be vigilant, committed to ensuring that our schools have what they need to meet tomorrow’s challenges, and never content with the gains of yesterday.

School funding in Kansas is precarious, in light of projected state budget shortfalls of more than $238 million by July 2016. States can’t run deficits, so that budget hole will have to be closed somehow. K-12 education looms large in the state budget, so it’s hard to imagine that our schools can emerge unscathed. This raises the risk of cuts upon cuts, since, prior to passage of a new school finance bill this year, Kansas cut education spending more than 45 other states, with funding down more than 16% between 2008 and 2013. Since almost all of our schools’ budgets go towards instruction and student support services, school funding cuts will inevitably harm our children’s educations. Even if the cuts are only temporary, the effects may be lifelong.

Policy is shaped by the policymakers we elect. Our decisions this November 4, then, are critical for our children’s futures. Voting sends a signal that we are committed to using every lever of influence we have to help our children succeed. Carefully selecting policymakers who will prioritize our schools gives us the best team we can assemble to confront the challenges we face. We cannot be content to coast on the strength of our past success. Our children need a world-class 21st Century education, for their tomorrows, which requires our attention today.

Education Policy and this Year’s Elections

Education policy is front and center in this year’s November 4, 2014 elections. News coverage has highlighted critical issues related to school funding, teacher tenure and due process, nutrition standards, and school standards — all of which are now contested in state and federal elections. But while there has been a lot of policy activity around education in recent years, the greatest challenges await us, making this perhaps the most important time in recent history for public school parents and patrons to make our voices heard.

  • The Kansas Legislature approved a new funding bill after the Kansas Supreme Court ordered an increase in school funding, but the Kansas Legislative Research Department projects a $238 million budget shortfall by July 2016. States can’t run budget deficits, so that money will have to come from somewhere, with real risks to future school funding.
  • The Kansas Legislature also approved, as part of that new finance bill, restrictions on teacher tenure. This issue was hotly debated on both sides and promises to shape interactions between administrators and teachers—current and prospective—in the coming years.
  • School districts are crafting new rules on snacks and developing new menus, to respond to new federal guidelines on child obesity prevention. Some members of Congress are calling for modifications to the rules, viewing them as unduly restrictive. Getting this right is critical for our children’s health.
  • The debate over Common Core standards rages, even as schools have aligned instruction to fit with developing evidence about instruction and cognition. The politicization of curriculum at the state and federal levels is a concern to educators. Parents’ perspectives, and our unwavering commitment to their learning and well-being, must be part of the conversation.

Before November 4 research these issues and decide where you fall on them. Then ask policymakers where they stand. Raising the issues will bring education issues center stage. Where they need to be, for our children’s sake.

Prairie 5K Raises $10,000!

The 4th annual Prairie Pride 5k and One Mile Fun Run was a big success! Prairie Village Mayor, Ron Shaffer, attended the event and kicked-off the fun run with the students. We had more than 570 registrants and raised $10,000! This money will furnish a portion of the funds to provide Prairie’s part-time counselor, part-time reading specialist, Spanish teacher and additional educational aid support. Thank you to all the Prairie families and friends who registered for the event.


The race results are posted on Congratulations to the winners and all the finishers! Rikki Hacker came in first place. The first place female winner was Kara Kowalik. Prairie Alumnus, Nathan Perkins Rock, was the first place winner in the 11-15 age group. And the first place female winner in the 11-15 age group was Prairie 6th grader, Maisie Sheets.


The Prairie Pride 5k would not have been possible without the generosity of our sponsors. Thank you for your outstanding support: The Village Dentist, Russell Stover, Gahagan-Eddy, Lewis, Rice & Fingersh Attorneys at Law, Verizon, Palmer Electric Company, Village Church, Taylor-Made Real Estate Services, TCBY, Foo’s Fabulous Frozen Custard, Dunkin Donuts, Liberty Fruit Co, Kelly H. Toombs, DDS, PA, The Horn Doctor, Chick-Fil-A Ward Parkway and Fusion Fitness.


It took the hard work of Meggan Prosser-Gebhardt , Praire Pride 5k Chairperson, and many volunteers to make this run a success. Thank you to all the individuals who spent countless hours organizing, promoting and facilitating the run and the running club, including Regan Barrett , Liz Beedle, Liz Birch, Lisa Bowser, Jessica Brown, Andree DeBauge, Stephanie Drennon, Jennifer Ecklund-Johnson, Constance Eddy, Kristin Fine, Seretha Fisher, Julie Fredrickson, Kerri Gaillard, Kelly Haas, Lindsey Henley, Allison Hughes, Kate Johnson, Alysa Koeneman, Brenda Kotar, Meg Kroening, Megan Lynch, Martha Mann, Angie McDermed, Sarah McKee, Stephanie Meeker, Amy Meirowsky, Laura Moffett, Ginny Norton, Emily Penke, Heather Rubesch, Christy Russell, Christy Sanders, Susan Smith, Carol Solenberger, Paul Stephens, Cole Walburn, Julie Weltmer, Chad Wood, Meredith Woodring, Brittany Zschoche and the Prairie Fund Committee.

Thanks also to the Prairie teachers and staff who supported us at the event, including Kim Bosch, Tim Coleman, Cynthia Connor, Esther DeVault, Candy Dieckmann, Maureen Gallagher, Kodi Lash, Scott Merfen, Dawn Papineau, Anna Phares, Jennie Reck, Pam Ritzman, and Nia Williams.

View and Order Race Pictures!

There was a professional photographer from DeCloud at the Prairie 5K Fun Run. To purchase pics, visit and click “Order,” select “Prairie Elementary – 5K Run.” Enter any valid email address and the password “prairie”. If you have any questions, feel free to call DeCloud Studios at 913.956.7200.

Scrip Gift Cards: Year-Round Gifts and End-of-the-School-Year Teacher Appreciation Gifts

Order for Your Family and Friends!

Scrip gift cards make the perfect gift! Order as many gift cards as you like for family and friends for any gift-giving occasion, such as graduations, anniversaries and summer birthdays. Just fill out the Scrip family order form and turn it in with your payment.

The deadline for Scrip family order forms is Friday, May 9.

Teachers and Staff Loves Gift Cards, Too!

This is also a perfect way to let your child’s teachers and Prairie’s staff know how much you appreciate all they have done this year. So, along with giving to your family and friends, please remember our teachers and staff members.

Complete the teacher and staff appreciation gifts order form with the amount you would like to give and return it with your payment. Teachers and staff will be able to choose which gift cards they would like.

Each staff person will receive a list of the names of the participating families. What an easy way to show appreciation for those that make Prairie such a wonderful school for our children!

So that Prairie staff will have time to choose their gift cards, the deadline for teacher and staff appreciation gifts form is Wednesday, May 7.

Please note that the fifth graders receive a small percentage back on each gift card purchased, which in turn goes towards fundraising for their Wildwood trip.


If you have any questions, please contact Karen Fernandez at 913-244-2969 or

The Prairie Carnival is May 9!

Prairie Carnival

It’s Carnival time again! Saddle up and get ready for a ropin’ good time.

Check out this flyer for all of the details. Please print it out and send it in with your money to the office or you can order online at Parents and children under four are free.

We will also be selling raffle tickets for a chance to throw a pie in Mr. Coleman’s face!!! Download this form, fill it out, and send that back in for a chance to win!!

Play Golf and Help Raise Money for Prairie – A Win, Win!

GolfPrairie Elementary relies on the Annual Golf Tournament as a major fundraiser for our school each spring. We have historically been “best in class” with regards to money raised and active participation in the event.  Unfortunately, as it stands today, we are last out of the nine participating schools in players signed up and sponsors committed. We trust that Prairie is simply a little slow coming out of winter hibernation, and we expect to see a HUGE push these last four weeks prior to the event. Please reach out to us directly at (913.209.7265) (913.375.8466) with any questions.

Golfers – We have 18 open spots for play. Foursomes are encouraged, but individuals are welcome.  $140 per or $560 for the team. Lots of benefits, lots of fun, great course, great food, a chance to win $$$ for Prairie, etc… We can provide additional details to interested parties. Or, ask a previous participant, their reference should be enough.

Sponsors – We are asking for $500 per dedicated hole sign. There will be 10-15 major sponsors from each of these schools:

  • Belinder
  • Highlands
  • Westwood View
  • Kansas City Christian
  • Trailwood
  • Corinth
  • Briarwood
  • Brookwood

Lexus usually steps up and sponsors the hole in one contest. Waterway Car Wash and Titleist have been gold sponsors over the years also. With your sponsorship, I will display a logo of your choice (8.5 x 11) on a sign to be placed in a prominent location on a tee box.  Signs will remain up each day of the event to be hosted at Milburn Country Club, on April 14th, 28th and May 5th. Needless to say, many people are excited at the advertisement potential associated with reaching men and women that reside within Leawood, Mission Hills, Mission Woods, Westwood Hills, Reinhardt Estates, Town & Country, PV, Fairway, etc. Of course you may also donate anonymously if that is your choice or simply donate on behalf of your family rather than your firm.

Thank you to the following sponsors on-board at this point:

  • Elite Sports Medicine
  • Taylor-Made Team
  • Palmer Electric Company
  • MO Bank
  • H&R Block Bank
  • Carroll Seating

We look forward to all the momentum that lies ahead. We can only go up.

Warmest regards,

Jamie Dailey (Golf Chair)  and Brian Tuttle (Chair Elect)

Pre-ordering Open for Prairie Plant Sale

plant-sale-logoLast week your child should have brought home the 4th annual plant sale order form along with postcards to get the word out to your neighbors, friends and family.

Here is the 2014 plant sale order form and the plant sale flier giving you all of the details and deadlines. We encourage you to order online at if at all possible, otherwise you can turn in your forms with payment to your child’s teacher by April 15.

Be sure to check out this year’s Garden Packages – Salsa Lover, Tuscan Herb, and Veggie Garden Starter. And we’ve eliminated the guesswork by listing all plants as “shade,” “partial shade,” or “sun” types. All proceeds directly benefit student activities at Prairie, including the annual 6th grade Wildwood trip.

Please feel free to reach out to one of the chairs if you have any questions at all!

Thanks for your help!

Lindsay Ridder & Stephanie Ptacek
Prairie Plant Sale Co-Chairs

Variety Show is Saturday – Order Your Videos Now

Please join us at the school this Saturday, Feb. 8, at 3 p.m. to see some of the best talent that Johnson County has to offer!


Capture the moment by purchasing a video on disc or flash drive (depends on file size, no DVDs this year) for $20 each. These files are also formatted for iTunes or streaming. More information is available on the variety show video order form.


If you have children that are participating, they need to report to their assigned seats by 2:30. The bleachers are reserved for the acts and will be numbered. Please bring any props backstage to the crew before you sit down or bring them in Saturday morning. Please label all items. Please take everything home after the show.

See you there!