Retired Employees Association News

The following updates were written and provided R.E.A. President Tom Kearney and Secretary Paula Slifer.


November 2015 Update

What an exciting fall this is. Members and non-members participated in two great events. The first was the annual fall trip, this time to Warm Springs Ranch, home of the famous Clydesdales. Thanks to the superb organizational efforts of Don Everhart, we got the royal tour of the facility including a look at Moose, the newest Clydesdale who was named after the third baseman of our World Series Champions the Kansas City Royals. We were treated to an excellent lunch at The Fred in downtown Boonville, Mo. Members enjoyed a bus tour of this historic town and a glimpse at the Mitchell Car Museum, featuring autos from the early part of the 20th century. Our final stop was the Russell Stover store.

On Nov. 11, the organization staged Breakfast with Bob Courtney of the Olathe Historical Society. Terri Jarboe prepared her secret recipe pancake mix and four chefs were at the ready. Texanna Ollenberger created strawberry and blueberry syrups to accompany the pancakes with whipped topping. (red, white and blue breakfast) Mr. Courtney showed the latest film from the Olathe Historical Society, "The Flying Jayhawks," which was the story of the Olathe Naval Air Station. As an added feature, he showed a short film about the founding churches in Olathe. All of these films are well researched and presented in an interesting format. The films are available for purchase.

Membership in OPS/REA continues to grow. Currently, there are 120 people in the group. If you know a person who worked in the Olathe School District in any capacity, let them know about the organization. Judy Rapp and Debbie Ramirez are our membership chairs and they welcome your participation. For the months of August and September members completed 2,918 hours of volunteering. The board reminds members of the Jan. 20, 2016 Rally at the Capitol activity to let our state legislators know about our concerns about issues confronting retirees. The Kansas Association for Retired School Personnel will continue to advocate a cost of living adjustment for members of KPERS.

September 2015 Board Meeting Minutes

What an opening day! Our first meeting of the 2015-16 year was an immense success! The room at NLSC was packed (had to set up extra tables) and the events were exciting. Texanna Ollenberger provided cookies in the shapes of soccer balls, baseballs, and footballs and every attendee got a box of Cracker Jack. Melinda Kearney hosted her own version of “What Do You Know?” and members won prizes for demonstrating their knowledge of “champions” of Olathe and Olathe Public Schools. And, thanks to the generosity of local merchants, the silent auction raised almost $500 for the OPS/REA scholarship fund. Marsha Stoker told the members about upcoming events and many of them reserved their places on the Oct. 29 fall trip to Booneville, Mo., Bunco Night (Oct. 13), and other events. There’s still time to sign up for the fall trip and the breakfast event with Olathe Historical Society luminary Bob Courtney.

At the board meeting after opening day, treasurer John Kieffer reported on the financial health of the organization. New memberships (thanks to Judy Rapp and Debbie Ramirez) have boosted the size of the organization. If you know of anyone who is a former member or would enjoy being a member get them signed up soon.

Volunteering chair Doug Cox reported that OPS/REA members have entered over 1,200 hours for the summer, and these continue to grow. Terri Jarboe reported on the Women’s Giving Circle that met on Oct. 22. This group gives a $10,000 grant to one deserving project.

Legislative committee co-chairs Ron Gardner and Ernie Claudel announced that Jan. 20 has been set for the Rally at the Capitol event. Last year, the organization sponsored a bus to take members to Topeka. We will need at least 72 people from this area, not just Olathe, to fill the bus. Let our voices be heard!

In new business, Debbie Ramirez informed the group that, due to outside considerations, she will be unable to serve as OPS/REA president next year. Tom Kearney will serve an additional term (2016-17) and members are encouraged to nominate leadership for the year after that.

The next board meeting is set for Oct. 28 at the NLSC. Then, of course, the next day we will board a bus for our fall trip to Boonville to see some magnificent horses and, according to travel coordinator Don Everhart, other stops along the way. Get your ticket now.

August 2015 Board Meeting Minutes

Calling all champions of Olathe schools! The board of the Olathe Public Schools Retired Employees Association is excited about the coming year – especially for "Opening Day" festivities scheduled for Sept. 23 at the NLSC, 10 a.m. to noon!

John Kieffer, treasurer, reports that the organization is in good financial health with $4052.01 in the bank. He will be "open for business" on Opening Day to accept new and renewal memberships.

What events are planned? A quick look at the website (, then Community and Retired Employees) will give a glance. We can provide greater detail at Opening Day (or you can look at the magnet you received with your invitation). Marsha Stoker and Terri Jarboe have worked very hard planning these events and we hope you can attend as many as possible.

Membership Committee chair Judy Rapp reported new memberships with the hope that Opening Day will bring many more. You don't have to be a member to participate in events – but it does keep you in the loop about the organization. With budget cuts affecting local schools, it is more important than ever for us to volunteer – keep Volunteer Committee chair Doug Cox informed as to your summer volunteer hours. Last year we had over 10,000 hours!

Our Olathe Public Schools Foundation liaisons, Marsha Stoker and Melinda Kearney, kept us up to date on award and grant recipients. A newer program, called "Fund-A-Need," ( provides smaller grants to teachers for specific projects. The Women's Giving Circle, according to member Terri Jarboe, will award a $10,000 grant for a proposal on Oct. 22.

At the Community Organizations Breakfast, Tom Kearney related that Dr. Marlin Berry, superintendent, spoke to the group. Upcoming events include Old Settlers' celebration, Sept. 10-12 and the War Birds flight Sept. 26-27, by the Commemorative Air Force at the New Century facility.

A legislative update from Ernie Claudel and Ron Gardner reported on the state of affairs regarding the state government and school finance. They encourage OPS/REA members to join Kansas Association of Retired School Personnel (KARSP) to keep up with issues affecting retirees.

Heather Schoonover brought a big "thank you" from the district for all the help with the Aug. 1 back-to-school event. There are 443 homeless students in Olathe schools this year.

Want to attend the OPS Foundation Annual Autumn Breakfast? The board authorized a subsidy of $10 (tickets cost $40) for any members who wish to attend. It promises to be a great event. Just notify Tom Kearney at

Did someone say "fall trip?" Don Everhart has arranged for the Oct. 29 excursion to Boonville, Mo., to meet the Clydesdales. Tickets will be available at Opening Day and includes some side trips for shopping and lunch.

There is so much more to share. Hope you can make it to Opening Day!

June 2015 Board Meeting Minutes

A very lengthy agenda faced the OPS/REA board for its June meeting and much was accomplished!

After the approval of the minutes of the May 27 meeting from Secretary Paula Slifer, Treasurer John Kieffer presented a very encouraging report on the financial health of the organization. In addition to his report, John presented a budget for 2015-16 and it was approved.

The first big announcement came from the Fundraising Committee. Terri Jarboe presented a list of suggested activities/fundraisers for the year. We are looking to start 2015-16 with a bang with a celebration of "Opening Day." The annual fall celebration will feature a sports theme with a silent auction (in celebration of Olathe champions). We hope to get Brian Steele to sing the National Anthem and the president will throw out the first "pitch" — to join OPS/REA! The annual Bunco Night will be Oct. 13. On Nov. 11, Veterans Day, Bob Courtney of the Olathe Historical Society will be showing the newest films about Olathe — remember that his films are award winners! We hope to make this a breakfast meeting (did someone say pancakes?). The Feb. 10 meeting will feature a presentation about the artistry of Grandma Layton. In April, we hold the Texas Roadhouse fundraiser and another silent auction. On April 27, we celebrate closing day. As always, MidAmerica Nazarene University will share proceeds from tickets sold to OPS/REA members for its November and March productions.

According to Membership Committee chair Judy Rapp, our organization continues to grow. Current members and past members will be getting emails to encourage them to join or re-join. If you know of a retired Olathe School District employee (administrator, teacher, staff) who is not part of the group, encourage them to join!

Debbie Ramirez attended the Community Organizations breakfast at the Catholic Charities facility. She reported all of the fine work of that organization, including a program to assist persons with payday loans. A very worthy endeavor! Our legislative reporters, Ron Gardner and Ernie Claudel, reported on the recently-concluded session of the Legislature. Their report was not optimistic as they concluded that the shortfall between revenue and expenditure experienced this year will be repeated next year.

The board voted to continue a practice started under Terri Jarboe. The foundation will subsidize individuals who wish to attend the OPS Foundation breakfast in October. Members who wish to attend can receive $10 toward the purchase of a $40 ticket. In addition, the board recommended that members sign up to help with the Back to School Outreach program. It's easy to apply online. Heather Schoonover of the district requested assistance in providing gifts for the new teachers in the fall. Contact her office and sign up. Remember to record your volunteer hours.

And now . . . where to go on our annual fall trip? Last year's excursion to Jamesport, Mo., was exciting. Possible trips were to the Shatto Milk Farm/Orchid Caves, Marysville, Kan.; Clydesdale Horse Farm in Boonville, Mo.; a US 36 Highway tour (various sites on the way). Tom Kearney had looked up a Kaw Valley Wine Trail. Let me know of any suggestions you have at

The next meeting of the board will be in August. Come back to this site for further information.

May 2015 Board Meeting Minutes

We are getting ready for the 2015-16 year for the Olathe Public Schools Retired Employees Association. One of the goals of the board for this year is to keep our membership better informed about group activities, board discussions, etc. Look for an update in this space after each meeting of the board. We are calling this year, "Our Championship Season," to celebrate the many successes of our schools and members. We welcome a new board member, David Brewer, who will serve in an at-large position.

After a successful 2014-15 year, under the leadership of President Terri Jarboe, the Treasurer John Kieffer reported a $6,497.99 balance in the checking account. Of course, this will be reduced immediately as we award our four scholarships to future teachers ($2,000).

  • Fundraising Committee will be co-headed by Marsha Stoker and Terri Jarboe. Terri commented on the success of the fundraisers for the year and that many of them will be continued for this year. Magnets will be generated for members to keep them informed of the various activities and fundraisers.
  • Social Committee chair, Texanna Ollenberger, reported that she is "waiting for marching orders" for 2015-16.
  • Judy Rapp and Debbie Ramirez of the Membership Committee reported nine new members. A focus of the committee will be to contact former members of the group to see if they wish to "opt-in" for this year.
  • Volunteer Committee chair Doug Cox reported that members served a total of 10,644 hours this year! Thanks to all members who volunteered and reported. If you volunteered, make sure to inform Doug to get the hours counted for the group.
  • Olathe Public Schools Foundation will welcome Marsha Stoker as a board member while Melinda Kearney will seek a committee post. The Foundation hosts a golf tournament on June 11.
  • The Scholarship Committee, headed by Stephanie Royer and Raleen Cox, praised the winners for this year. Future scholarship winners will be eligible for the award even if they attend out-of-state schools.
  • Lots of updates from the Community Organizations Breakfast, hosted at the Food Production Center on May 8. The Community Garden is FULL, numerous organizations awarded scholarships, and the Kiwanis Club offers U.S. flags for installation in your front yard!
  • Ron Gardner and Ernie Claudel gave a legislative update. As of this writing, the legislature still was debating taxes, budgets, spending cuts, etc. The OPS/REA Board encourages all members to keep in contact with their legislators (House and Senate) to assure them of our interest and concern.

We discussed the annual Fall Trip and will contact Don Everhart to see where it takes us!

The annual KARSP convention is in Hutchinson on June 10-11-12. I plan to attend and I hope you will too.

Our last order of board business was to thank outgoing president Terri Jarboe with a plaque. Cheryl Wilcox, our outgoing secretary, received a hibiscus plant for her garden.

Many thanks to Secretary Paula Slifer for compiling this information. Visit other pages on the "Retirees" site for additional information about your organization!