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Archive for Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Legislator apologizes for questioning three school districts’ expenses

June 15, 2005

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— The chief education legislator in the Kansas House has apologized for questioning expenses at three school districts, but some people were still upset Tuesday.

"I apologize to the school superintendents who feel they were maligned by my article, and I hope in the future all of us will make sure we check the facts before believing anything," said state Rep. Kathe Decker, R-Clay Center, and chairwoman of the House Education Committee.

Decker's apology came after she wrote an "op-ed" piece last week, stating she had heard rumors that the Dodge City school district spent $20,000 for a special desk. She also questioned the purchase of Astro-Turf by the Salina school district and a $250,000 new activities bus by the Lakin school district.

The desk allegation was untrue, Dodge City Supt. Gloria Davis said. And neither the Astro-Turf nor the activities bus, which was a used one bought for $140,000, were purchased with classroom funds, superintendents at those districts said.

"I did not verify with the school district offices the information," Decker said.

Her apologetic note, however, contained more criticism that Kansas spends too much on administrative expenses in the school system.

"That is a weak apology," Davis said. "We are in a sad state of affairs if this is how we do business - make outlandish accusations and turn around and make a backhanded apology."

Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka, whose district includes a portion of Douglas County, criticized Decker in a letter to her that said "sending out such blatant misinformation illustrates your contempt for the average Kansas citizen."

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