New state senator-elect will keep his position on school board

Lynn Rogers announced he is running as a Democrat for the 25th Senate District Seat. (KSN Photo)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Is it a conflict of interest to be on a school board, and serve in the Kansas Legislature? KSN asked Lynn Rogers, who earlier had said he would step down from his position on the USD 259 school board, if elected to the Kansas Senate.

Rogers won a senate seat to represent the 25th Senate district. But, he now says he will do both jobs.

“No, I really don’t think it’s a conflict of interest,” says Rogers. “There have been a number of legislators that continue to serve both on the Republican and the Democrat side and even the new speaker of the house, (Ron Ryckman, Jr.) is on the city council of Olathe.”

KSN asked political analysts what it means to be a dual office holder, and if there could be legal conflicts.

“There’s a longstanding line of opinions from the Attorney Generals office and a Kansas Supreme Court decision, kind of laying out the basics of what a real conflict of interest is,” says KSN political analyst, Jeff Jarman. “As long as you are not in a position to put a second constituency at a disadvantage by the first constituency benefiting.”

Jarman points out that there is not a conflict of interest in doing both jobs. Both the Senate and House in Kansas offer guidelines to dual office holders.

Rogers, meanwhile, says it will be a challenge doing both jobs. A juggling act, if you will. But, he says, he’s passionate about school finance and that is why he wants to continue in his volunteer service job as a school board member.

“The school districts have been through three years of block grants which have been horrendous for schools no matter their size or condition,” says Rogers. “And, really, the reason that I ran (for Kansas Senate) is I didn’t feel like we had legislators that were tied to the local community, and didn’t understand what they did and how it impacted the local school districts.”