(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) -- A new member of the St. Joseph School District Board of Education says he will bring an honesty and truthfulness that he says has been lacking.
Ken Reeder was one of three new board members sworn into office Monday night during a school board meeting.
For around two decades Reeder has been a civic watchdog and sometimes a thorn in the side to district administrators and board members. Now Reeder is entering the "belly of the beast" as he has called it, saying he has work to do.
"I have not given up on the St. Joseph School District in all these years," Reeder said, making his first public comments since the election two weeks ago.
Reeder received the most votes of eight candidates on the April 6th ballot. He credits much of his win to his criticism of the school district's $107 million bond proposal and high school reorganization plan that failed by a 2-1 margin.
"If anybody knows something that I thrive on, it's the 'no' vote," Reeder said. "The concerned citizen that can't afford money to be spent without any kind of plan."
Now a board member, Reeder says in addition to working to save St. Joseph's three high schools, he's going to see what he can do to change a current district plan to move all of its early education programming to Lake Contrary, the elementary school in the Southside that was closed three years ago.
"I'll tell you what, it doesn't involve spending a million dollars on a closed up, never used school building and end up shipping our youngest, most delicate on a bus for an hour a day," Reeder said. "What I'm saying is Lake Contrary is not going to work."
Reeder was sworn in Monday with David Foster and LaTonya Williams, who joined Reeder in ousting three seated members Larry Koch, Lute Atieh and Richard Gehring.
"One of the greatest things that happened is the two young people who I got elected with," Reeder said. "We have an opportunity to really change things around.
In addition to the swearing in of the new board members, the reorganized board elected officers for the year. Tami Pasley was reelected as the board president. Dr. Bryan Green will serve as vice president.