April 16, 2014 |
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Amen Gmom55. The task given to Gould Evans was to "... document a development strategy
balancing the many space, land use, academic, and infrastructure needs of the Lawrence School District.." They apparently put on a set of blinders and proceeded to develop a plan to improve the six schools which had been grossly underserved while the football stadiums were being built. They did not notice that there were existing facilities owned by the district which would serve the needs of the children. So they proceed to add $9 Million to Cordley which would give that old school a new cafeteria and around nine extra classrooms while Centennial is two blocks away, virtually unused. They then proceed to add six new classrooms and a cafeteria to New York while East Heights sits vacant less than a mile and a half away. They then added twelve classrooms and a cafeteria to Sunset Hill so that they would have room to move the Quail Run kids into when the west side of town starts filling up and Langston Hughes can't handle everyone. Of course they could have used Wakarusa to relieve the overcrowding in Langston Hughes, which would mean that some of the kids would have a shorter bus ride than they do now, but there blinders couldn't see across the dam. Needless to say there are some valid things outlined in the bond, but just because someone will loan you money, you are not obligated to take it, I don't think. A well managed business does no take out a loan unless they really actually need the money. I guess it would be OK to vote NO.
"I see many positives in favor of it, most of all the reinforcing of the neighborhood school model."
I disagree. Unless you mean that it reinforces simply by not closing east side schools or because they'll do the deferred maintenance they should have done all along. This bond seeks to add classrooms to existing schools, not just to replace portables but to increase capacity. Before long your neighborhood school will no longer be small and it won't be serving your neighborhood. There are five additional classrooms being added to Sunset Hill for example. That's approximately 125 new children, (at least until the school board needs to raise class sizes and increases the number of children we are currently putting in a classroom (since we'll have those nice new 1000 sq. foot rooms it will be ok) All that new construction going in on the west side will cause even more over crowding at Langston Hughes (already too big to be a small neighborhood school of the variety discussed by the task force). Boundaries will have to change. Those kids will go to LH, displacing current LH students to Quail, and those to Sunset Hill, until we fill up those 125 spots. Then what will happen? In five or six years they'll have to come back to us asking for more money so they can build more classrooms on the west side, because heaven forbid we should actually reopen and use a building we already own! If you're just going to change boundaries to accommodate the increase in enrollment anyway, just reopen the schools we've got (there's three of them) and really keep to the 'neighborhood model' of which the author spoke. It's cheaper and ultimately what Lawrence wants. While I agree with parts of this bond, new classroom construction (not repairs, not adding a gym) makes no sense when we have buildings that will serve the purpose. Those operations currently occupying those buildings can be moved, they are not a priority; for once, our elementary children should be.
For 15 -20 years USD 497 taxpayers have been wanting to eliminate portable classrooms and make necessary additions to address issues of growth and simply maintain property that belongs to taxpayers.
Thus far I like what improvements are being offered. A great public education system is key to new economic growth which has been known for decades. A great public education system is far more important than any retail center or strip mall.
Taxpayer properties have been neglected for too long. It’s time to bring our buildings up to date thus making excellent use of existing resources.
This project is being accomplished WITHOUT raising taxes. This bond issue is designed whereby the dollars cannot be diverted from the project.
I believe these candidates will keep a watchful eye over the money and our taxpayer owned properties.
Vanessa Sanburn - current School Board President
Robert Byers - current BOE member
Kristie Adair - http://www.kristieadair.com
I second the motion...
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