School Board Member Robin Stout Resigns

Effective+January+20%2C+board+member+Robin+Stout+resigned+from+the+board.+She+has+served+for+seven+years+and+cited+the+January+10+meeting+and+additional+ethical+concerns+as+reasons+for+stepping+down.

Strawbridge Studios

Effective January 20, board member Robin Stout resigned from the board. She has served for seven years and cited the January 10 meeting and additional ethical concerns as reasons for stepping down.

Olivia Steele

Updated January 24, 2022 at 1:28 pm

On Friday, January 21, it was announced that school board member Robin Stout resigned from her position. She is the third school board member in the last year to have resigned from the position, following Tresa Boden and Shawn Carlisle after walking out of the August meeting. Her resignation also comes after a separation agreement with former superintendent Pam Stranathan and a tense school board meeting

According to Stout’s resignation letter, it was an “incredibly hard decision” to resign following the first board meeting with three new board members. Stout referenced Greg Chapman’s “antics with the agenda,” which she described, “…wasn’t the only embarrassing action I had to sit through.”

“Unfortunately, with the current climate in education and how our newly elected board members have shown they plan to handle our Board of Education meetings (as was shown at the January 10th meeting), it has caused me grave concern,” Stout said.

The letter, which can be read in full below, mentions additional ethical concerns that Stout struggled with. The Kansas City Star reported newly elected board president and incumbent winner Lana Sutton had reached out to the Kansas Association of School Boards asking for the contact information of potential candidates to fill an open superintendent position even before Stranathan resigned. 

“Until then, I was not even aware that Pam had plans of resigning and when approached about this, Ms. Sutton did not admit her wrongdoing but only back tracked and downplayed her intent, despite each of us having a copy of that letter that clearly showed otherwise,” Stout said.

Another ethical matter Stout referenced was in regards to an audio clip played by Katie Williams at the January board meeting. In that clip, Williams said the audio was Bill Sutton, a Kansas representative and Lana’s husband, announcing to a crowd outside of the December meeting some executive session details, which could be considered a violation of board oath (The Blazer staff has heard the audio clip, but have not been able to verify the validity of the claim by Williams).

“The leaking of executive session information, especially when it involves personnel is an egregious violation and it leads one to question what additional privileged information Ms. Sutton has shared with her State Representative husband that we do not know about,” Stout said.

Sutton responded to the resignation letter on Saturday morning.

“I’m sorry to see her resignation and I wish her and her family the very best,” Sutton said.

Stout sent the letter out to all staff members of the district, but a few hours later, some members said it was unavailable in their inboxes. According to Ben Boothe, Director of Community Relations, the email was redacted as it violated district policies.

“Ms. Stout’s resignation was effective January 20 but we did not have a chance to remove all access to district accounts until January 21,” Boothe said.

Note: some quotes mentioned above and parts of the letter have been edited to fix minor spacing issues for readability.