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Archive for Wednesday, March 24, 1999

EDITOR,

March 24, 1999

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We have lived in this community approximately 20 years. My husband and I chose our home for many reasons, one being it would be a great place to raise kids. Over the years I have familiarized myself with candidates running for school board because of the importance of the positions. I have been so very pleased with the caring diligence that some of the board members have participated in, while carrying out the duties of their office. It is a thankless job that seems to bear the brunt of many harsh judgmental words. I want to thank them for their hard work. I hope that the candidates now running have thought about the many duties and responsibilities that will be required of them. I, for one, will require them to familiarize themselves with the issues. I am entrusting them with my children's future.

My son is in the charter school. I have visited the school, and would like to share with the community my findings. As I looked around the room I saw excitement, sharing of work and ideas, each with a vested interest. I saw a family. I saw children who for whatever the reason sought a different way to learn, some of them clearly not making it in a "typical" classroom setting. I saw a young mother balancing school work and trying to care for a young child at home. I saw a young man who was flunking a few classes last year because of a lack of focus; within this charter school he's found it. I saw a young man whose self-esteem had prevented him from reaching his goals; within this charter school he's succeeding. Some students learn by hearing, some by seeing, some by touching. Each has his or her own way of learning that our district had not provided for in the past. We have our Learning Disabled program and our gifted program. Many kids don't qualify for these programs. Where do you go if you're bright, but learn differently than the norm? I've talked to many of the parents. One mother told me without the charter school, she's sure her son would not be in school this year. This has been the answer to many parents' prayers. The bottom line is, they're learning and succeeding.

To the school board candidate who stated he thought the charter school was a waste of money, I would like to explain how I felt when my son met me at the door with his honor roll report card. I would like for him to see the look on the mother's face when she told me that if it wasn't for charter school her son wouldn't be in school this year. I would like for him to see the faces of the students when they received their awards at the Douglas County Science Fair this year. Don't tell me it's a waste of money -- I've seen what's been achieved.

The Baldwin School District is faced with many decisions this spring, as it always is. School board members, keep your heart open to the needs of every student. Sports are great, but isn't our first priority education? School board candidates find out how parents feel about issues, these are our children you're going to be making decisions for. Parents, let these board members and candidates know what your children's needs are. We are entrusting them with decisions that will affect our children's future.

Thank you,

Gloria Roach

866 E. 1750 Road,

Baldwin City

Editor,

On May 15, many Baldwin City families will travel down U.S. Highway 59 to Ottawa to attend their children's' dance recital. My family will be among them, as my daughters take dance at Stacy's Dance Studio in Baldwin City.

In the past, this celebration of our kids' achievement has been in Baldwin City. However this year, when Stacy Carrington tried to schedule an auditorium, she could not. The authorities at the school district would not commit to a date for the junior high auditorium. They insisted that they would "get back to her." They didn't. On the other hand, Baker claimed that Rice Auditorium was not available for this type of an event. Baldwin Recreation Commission recently had its dance recital at Rice.

We all know that it is not easy to keep a business going in Baldwin City. Stacy does a great job with her students, and has earned their respect and admiration. It seems that the community would be well-served by supporting her efforts, as we should for all of our small business people.

So, since the support was not there in this instance, our daughters will dance in Ottawa. It is an opportunity to recognize almost a year of hard work by our children. Many of the families will be celebrating with dinner at a restaurant, flowers for the dancers, gifts honoring the achievements and perhaps ice cream after the recital. Because the recital will be in Ottawa, our restaurants, florists and other business will probably not benefit from it. The Ottawa businesses will. What a pity.

Ivy Fife

Vinland

Editor,

It is time to unify Unified School District 348. On April 6, voters will be going to the polls to elect school board candidates. However, our choices are limited due to the division of our small district into four representative areas. This outdated practice should be changed.

Instead of electing seven at-large board members like most districts in the area, voters in USD 348 are limited to choosing between one of two candidates that live in four specified areas -- Vinland, Marion Springs, Baldwin City and at-large. By dividing the district in this manner, we make a candidate's home address an important electability factor. In a small district where we all have pretty much the same in common, a candidate's home address shouldn't make a difference. The decision to vote for a candidate should be based on background, character and views on the issues. In order to elect the strongest school board possible, voters need to be allowed to cast their votes for whom they think are the three or four most qualified candidates.

I have lived in Baldwin City for 10 years and voted during every election. There have been times when I thought both candidates in one area were stronger than both candidates in another area. I had no choice but to vote for one stronger and one weaker candidate. This is not the best way to elect a school board, nor the way to elect the best school board.

The process for changing to a seven at-large system requires the school board to vote on allowing a public election on the issue. Usually the school board puts the wheels in motion when it comes to a vote on other important issues. I hope the school board will allow a public vote on this issue -- our right to vote for the candidates of our choice.

Our school board can make or break our district, and what each individual board member brings to the board has an impact. Voting for the most qualified candidates, regardless of where they live within the district, will create strength and unity.

Sincerely,

Patti Michalowski

322 High St.

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