Archive for Sunday, August 13, 2006

Hitting the (check) books

Sending kids to school more costly than ever; fees, transportation, programs drive up expenses

August 13, 2006

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Sue Roberts did the math.

"On that first day of school, it's going to cost us $338 for my son to walk in the door," she said. "That seems like a lot to me."

Roberts is a caretaker for two sororities at Kansas University. Her husband, Harold, drives a truck for UPS.

Their 15-year-old son, Max, will be a sophomore at Free State High School. He's not planning on going out for a sport, and he doubts he'll have time for the after-school clubs.

"If he did, it's $50 to be on a team, $60 for a physical and $25 for each activity," Roberts said. "School pictures are anywhere from $9 to $45, and if you want a yearbook, it's another $45.

"At some point," she said, "you just have to wonder how much of stuff is getting out of reach for some people. Do other schools charge this much?"

Roberts' concerns are not unique. School leaders have grown accustomed to hearing parents complain that having to pay hundreds of dollars in fees on top of the district's 52-mill property tax levy is just too much. A mill is $1 in tax for every $1,000 in assessed valuation.

At left, Emily Ball, a ninth-grader at South Junior High School, assists Garnel Williams as he tries to open his locker during seventh-grade orientation Wednesday. The school year can produce anxiety in parents, too, because the expenses for public education have increased for families.

At left, Emily Ball, a ninth-grader at South Junior High School, assists Garnel Williams as he tries to open his locker during seventh-grade orientation Wednesday. The school year can produce anxiety in parents, too, because the expenses for public education have increased for families.

The district's fees are, in fact, among the highest in the state.

Programs vs. fees

But school leaders say that's because the school board, responding to pressure from parents, has resisted calls to cut costs by dropping programs and lowering standards.

"What we hear from patrons, especially parents, is that they want a wide variety of options and choice, almost unlimited choice," Supt. Randy Weseman said. "They have high expectations, which I support. But more choices means more expense and a surcharge of fees. I have had no calls asking to roll back programs, only fees."

In Kansas, school district revenues are limited to state aid, local property taxes and fees. They cannot levy a sales or an income tax.

When state aid falls short of a district's costs and when a district is collecting all the local property tax it's allowed to collect, it has to cut costs, impose fees or do both.

"Those are the tools we've been given," Weseman said.

Since 2002, Lawrence schools have done both.

"To try to make ends meet, we came up with a list of choices - things that could be cut - and asked the public for feedback," said school board President Sue Morgan.

Board meetings, she said, turned into protests.

"We had 300 to 400 patrons telling us not to cut things like junior high band or orchestra, or sign-language classes or intramural sports," Morgan said. "It got to the point where we finally said, 'OK, would you rather have fees?' and the response was, 'Yes, we would.'"

Each year, the fees generate about $1 million - nowhere near enough to cover the different programs' costs.

"They're a partial offset," Morgan said.

The fees have not been raised in four years.

Teacher salaries

Since 2002, shortfalls in state aid derailed the district's campaign for all-day kindergarten and stalled efforts to raise teacher salaries. Board members still want to bring back all-day kindergarten in 2007-08, and they're expected to offer teachers a pay increase in the next few weeks.

Morgan said the board would love to do away with fees.

"But that's not the question," she said. "The question - it's the question that no one wants to answer - is what are we willing to give up?"

Without the fees, money for the programs would have to come from the district's general fund, which, in turn, would leave less money for teacher salaries.

Roberts, the Free State parent, doesn't want that.

"I think teaching ought to be the highest-paid profession there is," she said.

But how, Roberts asked, can the district say it has to charge fees when there appears to be plenty of money for new buildings?

"It seems a little outrageous," she said.

Construction costs

Weseman disagreed. The construction going on in the district, he said, is long overdue and part of the $54 million bond issue for construction projects that voters approved last year.

"When people look around, they see all this construction going on," Weseman said. "What they don't see is how state funding hasn't kept pace with inflation for years, and how all this work that needed to be done kept getting put off."

USD 497 data

View all the vital statistics for Lawrence public schools: Go »

He compared the recent increases in state aid to "starving somebody for 10 years and then giving them a big meal. That doesn't mean they're well-fed."

Also, he said, the bond issue is for new construction and doesn't address many of the district's maintenance needs.

Proposed increases

That's why board members last week announced plans to increase the district's 6-mill capital outlay fund to 7 or 8 mills.

A 2-mill increase would generate almost $2 million for maintenance projects and equipment purchases.

The board also announced its intent to push the district's local option budget from 27 percent of the general fund to 30 percent, raising an additional $1.7 million.

At the same time, the district expects to receive an additional $2.8 million in state aid.

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That seems like a lot of money to 86-year-old Rex Youngquist.

"It's ridiculous. What more can I say?" said Youngquist, who's backing a new group called Kansans for Common Sense and Accountability.

The district, he said, has more money than it knows what to do with.

Again, Weseman disagreed. "Out of that $2.8 million, we get about $600,000," he said. "The rest of it's earmarked for at-risk and special education programs - that's good, we're certainly not going to turn it down. But it's not like we're getting $2.8 million to spend on whatever we need to spend it on."

Adding $600,000 to the district's $59 million general fund, he said, isn't much of an increase.

"It's less than 2 percent," Weseman said.

That's hardly enough to offset the four years - 2000 to 2004 - the district went without an increase in state aid, he said.

Eighty-six percent of the district's general fund is spent on staff, teacher and administrator salaries.

The school board is expected to assemble its 2006-07 budget - a process that could include reducing or eliminating fees - at its Aug. 14, Aug. 21 and Sept. 11 meetings. All three meetings have time set aside for public comment.

Legislator feedback

State Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, said he, too, has heard people complain about the fees.

"I tell my constituents it's all a matter of choice - choices made by the school boards and choices made by the voters," he said.

"If the priority is to live within a finite budget, that's one thing. But if it's to offer a multiplicity of opportunities and still live within a finite budget, that's a different thing altogether - that's where fees come in."

In the end, he said, board members will decide what to do about the fees, and voters eventually will decide what to do with the board.

"It's all part of the decision-making process," Sloan said.

Comments

mom_of_three 8 years, 8 months ago

According to the pictures, the supplies cost $60. I don't know where they did their shopping, but I paid less than that for 3 kids. It's called "buying on sale"

cutny 8 years, 8 months ago

What's the big surprise? Name one thing that's gotten cheaper over the years.

mom_of_three 8 years, 8 months ago

Rex Youngquist?? You have got to be kidding me? i realize he is the president of this group, but let's talk to someone who hasn't been involved in numerous lawsuits.

Nikki May 8 years, 8 months ago

I HATE paying fees, but then I hate paying for anything. But, I WILL pay fees. But I want to know how they decide to break it up. It says grades 1-6 are $72 for textbook rental. My child never had a textbook in 1st or 2nd. And Activity trips? They walked everywhere in 2nd grade and the place they went cost $2. I know they used alot of photocopies and workbooks, so I am sure they used alot of money for that. I guess, I don't mind the $112 just don't tell me what it's for!

KsTwister 8 years, 8 months ago

Textbook rental fees really should come into question. Why is it nesscessary for schools to BUY NEW ones if the basic concepts in them are correct? It is like they are saying the older books are failures in teaching your children. Seems to me this could be a first step to really saving some money; don't tell me the kids tear them up. Is it really worn out if the basic information is the same at each grade level? If I can teach nieces and nephews using 1970 books then maybe its the pictures that are distracting.....or the new ones just suck.

mom_of_three 8 years, 8 months ago

They don't buy new books every year, but they charge for books, probably to offset the initial cost. some books may be updated every few years.

jhawk0097 8 years, 8 months ago

The district spends too much money on technology. They buy new computers every 3-5 years, which comes to a pretty hefty bill considering how many they have in the building. I'd get rid of all of the computer labs. Back when I was in HS ('88-'92), we had elective computer classes. That's the only place students need computers. As embedded as computers are in our culture, it's unnecessary to have computer labs for English classes and the like. Stick with such things as teaching the difference between a modifier and a contraction. From what I read, THAT education is sorely lacking.

And cut the athletics spending. These are education facilities, not sports franchises. The more importance we put on HS athletics, the more they become part of the arms race that is college and professional athletics. In other words, the facilities will never be good enough.

Also, there's too many people in administration. At my HS, BVN, which was one of the top 10 public HSs in the country, we had 1 prinicipal and 2 assistant principals for ~1500 students. LHS has 4 altogether for a student population of ~1300.

Finally, what's with all of the fancy buildings? I was just over at the DeSoto district's administration building which looked like a 5-star hotel. These buildings get a lot of abuse. There's no need for skylights, a two-story wall of windows, towers, or anything like that. Four walls and a few windows will suffice and the custodial staff will thank you for it.

mom_of_three 8 years, 8 months ago

Macon,

My kids have one cell phone to share between the 3 and none of them drive.
My main expense this year seems to be an athletic 8th grader.

jhawk0097 8 years, 8 months ago

Why are there more fees than ever while, at the same time, according to the LJW stats, we're spending more $$$ than ever per student?

mom_of_three 8 years, 8 months ago

Jhawk007, Athletics help students stay active in school.
It also gives some students a chance of attending college, who may not otherwise afford it.
And get rid of the computer labs?? You went to school over 15 years ago. Get with the new century. Computers are a necessary evil, and are so much cheaper than they were 15, 10 or 5 years ago.
DeSoto isn't in our school district, and I don't think we have any buildings which can "rival a 5 star hotel".
I do wish LHS had a building as nice as Free State, but it what is going on INSIDE the buildings which is important.

auturgy 8 years, 8 months ago

Here is the problem that I have with fees being charged for co- and extra-curricular activities (I believe that sports is the same). The revenue generated from these fees is placed into a GENERAL ACTIVITIES FUND to be pulled from by whomever needs the money. As a FS grad, I probably paid for bus rides to sporting events for athletes when I never stepped foot onto a playing field. All because of choir and orchestra and theatre? How does that make sense? If you give the money to the programs who NEED it then I would have no problem paying the fee, whatever it may be. But don't hide behind a "Co-Curricular" fee when it's really just an excuse to rob me of money that won't be going to help me. Well, none of that even COMPARES to the ridiculousness of college fees, but that's a different article.

Aileen Dingus 8 years, 8 months ago

I have a sophomore at LHS this year. He's in two activities- band and swim team. I was bowled over when he presented me with the fee schedule. Then I realised the money I spend NOW will save me money when he goes to college- in the way of scholarships. Most of my friends and many of my relatives received scholarships to play in the band at college.

It is a lot of money to pay, to be sure, but I think in the long run it's worth it.

HeavyBrother 8 years, 8 months ago

I've been sending my two kids to day care and preschool for $1000 a month and am looking forward to sending one of them to public school this year. It's a real bargain and I wouldn't mind paying more for public school if I knew it was going to be worth the money.

Maybe part of the reason our schools suck so bad in the U.S. is because we don't put enough money into them. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. If Americans really had to pay up for their school systems, maybe we'd care more about what went on there.

I just hope the education my kids get in public school is half as good as what they were getting in private schools.

If farmers and teachers made as much as professional athletes, the world would be a better place.

jhawk0097 8 years, 8 months ago

"Jhawk007, Athletics help students stay active in school. It also gives some students a chance of attending college, who may not otherwise afford it. And get rid of the computer labs?? You went to school over 15 years ago. Get with the new century. Computers are a necessary evil, and are so much cheaper than they were 15, 10 or 5 years ago. DeSoto isn't in our school district, and I don't think we have any buildings which can "rival a 5 star hotel". I do wish LHS had a building as nice as Free State, but it what is going on INSIDE the buildings which is important"

Athletics can be positive, but doesn't require the funding it currently gets. Join the X country team. I did in HS and it only cost me a pair of shoes. No trainer, 5 assistant coaches, or a gym required.

If someone can't afford college, that's what grants, loans, work study and academic scholarships are for.

Computers are necessary but not to the extent they are used at the moment. It isn't necessary to write an english paper in a computer lab. And I've done just fine educating myself even though I never even heard of Windows OS while in HS. Heck, Hewlett Packard offers online classes for free if anyone wants to sign up.

Go to some of the new schools in West Lawrence. They're a helluva lot nicer than they need to be. As for LHS, don't do a thing to it. Ask the maintenance guys over there about how the kids (sure, probably a minority) treat the school. 4 walls and some windows. That's it. The rest can go to replacing broken windows, damaged lockers, trashed carpeting, and everything else that gets vandalized on a daily basis.

You're right. It's what goes on inside that counts and that's why we shouldn't spend money on some Frank Gehry inspired elementary school when kids are prone to act their age. Our buildings should be built accordingly.

mom_of_three 8 years, 8 months ago

Jhawk,

Do you have kids in this school district? I do. What school doesn't computers in school? Our kids would be left behind without them. Yes, there are loans and work study to help pay for college, but there are still students out there who rely on athletics to help pay their way to college. Athletics, and the arts for that matter, inspire kids to do better in school. It is needed for their benefit. Yes, you only had to pair for a pay of shoes for track, as did I. But things have changed since we were in school.
I have been to Southwest and Sunflower and I am not sure what you think the buildings should look like. I don't think those buildings look any different than any other school buildings I drive by or go to in the Kansas City area. You would probably be happy with a Morton building, but as those are pretty noisy during thunder and rain storms, which wouldn't be good.
I have done just fine educating myself, high school and college, without a computer, as they were just being introduced in the mainstream. I have learned many things along the way, because most jobs require computers. My kids learn programs in school which took me years to learn on my own. Why hold them back, making them learn it on their own, instead of using computer technology to their advantage. If we don't teach computers and use computers in schools, our students will fall behind the rest of the country. And we don't want that to happen.

mom_of_three 8 years, 8 months ago

I, too, had to buy 2 new backpacks ($40), but those will last a few years. Junior High and High School fees start at $162, plus the fees for home ec, art, band, computer technology, workbooks, and it will be over $200 per child, easily. One of my kids will play at least 2 sports this year, if not 3.
My kids will take their lunch at times, but do eat at school more often than not. They have volunteered to take their lunch more, so I will probably take them up on it.

mom_of_three 8 years, 8 months ago

The rest of our school supplies are bought on sale, and then I stock up on replacement supplies. As long as I don't have to replace 3 calculators, I am fine.

myunitedstatesofWHATEVA 8 years, 8 months ago

I attended SJHS and LHS in my earlier years.. and believe me they were no five-star hotels.. heck south doesnt even have windows.. but South is one of the reasons its gonna be expensive lately with the building and everything.. and dont complain about the sports fees you have to realize the coaches have to be paid and theres bus fees included and uniform maitenance.. this the age of technology and we have to come to realize that.. i'm just glad the kids over at south will finally be able to say that they have a nicer school than the southwest kids

blessed3x 8 years, 8 months ago

"Posted by HeavyBrother (anonymous) on August 13, 2006 at 3:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Maybe part of the reason our schools suck so bad in the U.S. is because we don't put enough money into them. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. If Americans really had to pay up for their school systems, maybe we'd care more about what went on there."

http://www.ed.gov/about/overview/fed/10facts/index.html

In 2004-2005 the US spent $536 BILLION on education. So...how is it that we're not spending enough on education when the countries that are kicking our pants in this area don't even have entire budgets with that amount?

There's PLENTY of money. We need to make sure it is spent wisely!

armyguy 8 years, 8 months ago

The US spends more $$ per child than any other country..

http://www.aei.org/publications/pubID.20303,filter.all/pub_detail.asp

Last I heard 2+2=4, no need for new math books. The only need for new books might be for history, but that could be updated with the computers and the net.

We don't need to pay more for education. I pay more than my share for a DINK.

armyguy 8 years, 8 months ago

Perhaps, if we weren't paying so much in overhead, there could be more money to go around. I.e. administration that doesn't do much but drive around drunk.

armyguy 8 years, 8 months ago

Also, by the way of overhead, I mean teachers being paid about the same as the average working stiff who works 2080 hours per year (based on a 40 hour week, which most teacher don't do ever) compared with a teacher who works 8 months per year at teaching.

BTW. I have a brochure from KU Circa 1960, in that you can get your teaching certificate (provided you have a High School diploma during the summer). Teachers have done this to themselves.

kg52 8 years, 8 months ago

I was educated in the Lawrence schools (1970 graduate LHS) and feel I received a good eduction. I am thankful my children are grown - one was an athlete and the other a drummer and I spent money on those things but money well spent - my kids turned out great. I feel for you parents out there but just remember it is money well spent. Even though my kids are raised you won't hear me complaining about school levys, etc. because I can't think of anywhere better to put my money than into the education of our children. I agree they don't need a lot of the fancy crap they put into the new buildings but I think computer labs are obviously extremely important, it is what makes the world click these days. I work on a computer and know so little about them other than just what I have to know to do my job. You all just have to believe that whatever you do for your children will come back many times over when they turn out to be wonderful adults.

Lori Nation 8 years, 8 months ago

NOW THAT FAMILIES ARE REALIZING THAT WE ARE PAYING FOR MOST OF THE EDUCATION HERE IN LAWRENCE IF YOU WANT TO GET YOUR POINT ACROSS ATTEND YOUR LOCAL BOARD MEETING, ONE MAN STANDS UP FOR HIMSELF IT TAKES A STRONGER MAN TO STAND UP FOR OTHERS AND THIS IS WHAT WE NEED TO DO IF THE BOARD CANT HELP US AND WE DONT SEE THE FEES DROPPED BY NEXT YEAR IF YOU VOTED THEM IN WE CAN VOTE THEM OUT AND I WILL MAKE IT MY PERSONAL MISSION TO SEE THAT THIS IS DONE AND IF YOU ARE A CONCERNED PAYING PARENT YOU WILL STAND BESIDE ME AND NOT TAKE IT ANYMORE

armyguy 8 years, 8 months ago

swbsow, I figured somebody would say something about staying longer for cheerleading practices or other activities. They all sign on to do that and get paid extra for it, ie volley ball JV coach is almost 5k per year extra pay. Babysitting at the computer lab is extra. Also by and large most teachers have time set aside every day to grade papers in their workday.

My family has a lot of teachers and I dated a teacher for many years, they all make fairly good money. The ones in Mo. make less, but so are their living costs. After a few years of teaching most all are making 40K a year or more.

Many people who have an office job bring work home. I have for years and don't get paid extra for it.

jhawk0097 8 years, 8 months ago

I never said we should get rid of computers completely. I think there's too much emphasis on them. Frankly, computers are cool to these kids anyway and it's the one area where they're self-motivated. Therefore, there's no need to spend vast amounts of money on them. I've never read about how kids here are falling behind in computer savy. However, we are falling behind in subjects required to drive technology forward, math and science. That's where the spending should go, and teacher salaries.

Armyguy, my mother taught special ed and worked from 7am-7pm on a daily basis while I was growing up. Over the summers she took classes, some mandatory, to comply with her certification. The idea that teachers only work 8 or 9 months of the year is a myth, at least for the good ones. A lot of teachers also use the summers to further their own education, which benefits their students in the long run. My uncle used to say the same things you have here until he started teaching physics courses at a Nebraska JC a couple of years ago. He says it's the most demanding job he's ever had.

machiavelli 8 years, 8 months ago

I hate to say it, but some of you people are sheep. Instead of spouting banalities such as "our kids are going to be left behind" and variations on that theme, you should be mad as hell that our corrupt and inefficient school system (and government, for that matter) keep asking for more and more of your money.

Have you ever noticed that the main function of governments is to ask for more and more money, no matter how much you have given them in the past? Think about it.

mom_of_three writes:

"Do you have kids in this school district? I do. What school doesn't computers in school? Our kids would be left behind without them."

Actually, Mom, I don't have kids in school. I have one child, and he is home schooled. That is to say, he does not waste inordinate amounts of time on wasteful and useless information while being programmed by teachers, principals, and other kids to accept his status on the basis of his appearance or his parent's finances. On the weekends, he plays with other kids in the neighborhood who, incidentally, all like him and envy him for not having to go to "school." He is happy, well adjusted, and absolutely will not be "left behind" by anyone or anything. Actually, I'd say that he is at least a couple of grades ahead of public schooled kids in understanding and applying mathematical concepts. So if anything, yes, I would say your child will probably be "left behind." By MY child.

And no, he doesn't have a computer, nor is he going to be permitted to even USE a computer for the next couple of years (although I obviously have one or I wouldn't be typing this).

My reasoning for this is relatively straightforward: computers, in their present-day mode of usage, are bad for kids. In my day (I'm 32) they were good useful tools to facilitate learning, now they are not. It's that simple. You can't separate computers from the Internet, and you can't separate a kid's curiosity from all the bad stuff on the Internet.

And I'm not talking about all the obviously "bad" stuff. I'm talking about all the "blogs" written by adults; all the kids with their "my space" pages (which exist solely for the purpose of faking out parents while kids set up their own parties where bad stuff happens); and even the online media, which is incapable of presenting information in a straightforward, factual manner.

What does it COST me to do all this, you might ask? Well, I'm sure my wife and I could probably have bought a better car or something if she decided to work full-time, but she doesn't. Oh well. We live with it. That, and the taxes I pay to send YOUR kids to our absolutely useless and trivial school system.

Sharon Nottingham 8 years, 8 months ago

"That is to say, he does not waste inordinate amounts of time on wasteful and useless information while being programmed by teachers, principals, and other kids to accept his status on the basis of his appearance or his parent's finances."

I don't happen to think my child attending a public school and using a computer means they will end up "left behind". Nor do I belive that public school is a waste of time and that my child is taught useless information. That is an unfair comment and very broadly based. I am happy with every hard-working teacher that my child has had up to this point. Each generation has learned newer technology than the generation before them. It's just a part of life--a part of expanding our knowledge.

To get back on the article's topic, what we all need to do is make sure that we evaluate the school fees and question them. I get upset about text book rental fees, activity fees where an activity never took place, etc., just as much as the next person. So this is where our votes are going to count! We have a voice--let's use it.

shuddleston 8 years, 7 months ago

Lawrence is out of control - way overpriced for the average wage. No wonder why everyone drives to the city to work - they have to because $12.00 hour isn't going to pay for a $200,000 house. My kids go to Eudora Middle school which cost me $0 for both. No text book fees, no sport fees, no buss fees etc. However, supplies were about $120 for both. I am not complaining.

jcsmom 8 years, 7 months ago

I just paid $112.00 in fees for my son to attend 2nd grade at Prairie Park. Last year I paid Field Trip dues and I don't remember him ever going on a Field Trip. Where does that money go - I paid those dues again this year. I also have started making his lunch every morning instead of paying $1.85 a day for lunch. That is saving me some money about $35.00 a month. But what about the other fees - $9.00 a year for a yearbook - $7.00 a year for a class photo - plus class photos that look like crap but the grandparents want them anyway - I can go to Wal-Mart and have better pictures taken. What about the fundraisers - I thought that those are suppose to do something for the schools.

HMcMellon 8 years, 7 months ago

shuddleston: "Lawrence is out of control - way overpriced for the average wage. No wonder why everyone drives to the city to work - they have to because $12.00 hour isn't going to pay for a $200,000 house. My kids go to Eudora Middle school which cost me $0 for both. No text book fees, no sport fees, no buss fees etc. However, supplies were about $120 for both. I am not complaining."

The good news is as gas prices continue to rise, more and more people will find the cost to drive back and forth to work simply too great of expense. That will cause a surplus of empty homes in Lawrence, which will drive down housing prices as well as rents.

A "buyers market" for housing in Lawrence might even result in lower valuations and lower property taxes. The school system might also benefit by needing few teachers and staff. The District might even be able to close down a couple of schools and sell them to increase its bottom line.

Further, having fewer people living in Lawrence looking for jobs will increase wages for the same reason - fewer people looking for the same number of jobs.

The principles of supply and demand should work to the benefit of those who stay after the "great exodus" to Kansas City and Topeka due to the ever-increasing price of fuel.

bennric 8 years, 5 months ago

Notice to parents: stop complaining about costs to educate your child. Think about the individuals that do not have children that contribute thousands of dollars via taxes to help fund the education of your child.

Instead of providing tax breaks for additional dependents (i.e. children) the government should be providing additional tax relief to individuals that do not produce off-spring that will create a financial burden on the educational system. Maybe instead of breeding indiscriminately, parents need to be more responsible for their children and stop complaining about the cost associated with having a child. If you can't afford it, don't have a child. It's called family planning. Be grateful that the cost of public education is dispersed and that you are not required to pay the actual cost of educating your child.

The sense of entitlement without any sense of responsibility needs to stop.

homemom 8 years, 3 months ago

If an individual retailer charges too much you can simply shop elsewhere. If that retailer manages his shop poorly he goes out of business. Not so with USD 497. When they become so top heavy the children suffer in obvious ways they simply raise our taxes and the top administrative salaries, of course. I have to wonder about all that money "earmarked" for the special ed students. When my child needed a para I was told the district couldn't afford it so we shared a para with another very high needs child. Funny how neither child seemed to make any progress, that is until I, like so many others in this district, pulled my child out and began homeschooling. The childs' progress is amazing, but I still pay enormous taxes for a educational system that has deteriorated rapidly in the past 10 years in this city.

ksdivakat 8 years, 3 months ago

Lawrence school systems suck in general. I to went to Eudora and that is correct, Eudiora is in the same county, the same state, they also have the same activities, band, choir, sports, cheerleading, specialty clubs, yet they seem to be able to not "charge" the parents for school fees...How is that possible? And no child left behind?? That is a joke in this town, my 13 y/o now goes to southwest jr high, she has struggled with grades since 4th grade, she repeatedly gets bad grades and struggles with her work yet, when i asked the school last year what the no child left behind meant not one person could tell me, not the principal, the counselors (2 of them) the wrap worker nor the school board member i called. The school told me they would not hold her back (and she needed to be) because of the social stigma it puts on them. So instead she brings grade cards home filled with d's and f's and inveribly at the end of the year her grade card says past to the next grade level, so now shes an 8th grader who couldnt tell you what the kansas bird is! What kindof crap is that? So please, dont try and tell me how wonderful this school district is, first tell me how it is eudora can do it without raising taxes???

karmasue 8 years, 2 months ago

Eudora school district has no fees - maybe Lawrence should ask how they can manage to give students a quality education without the cost.

karmasue 8 years, 2 months ago

ksdivakat - your child would get the special attention needed in the Eudora school system.

Wilbur_Nether 8 years, 2 months ago

bennric wrote: "Notice to parents: stop complaining about costs to educate your child."

Which I would summarize as: "If you think education is expensive...try ignorance."

hhibp107 8 years, 2 months ago

If someone would just quit complaining and acutally sue the district they would win. Its happening all over the united states.

samsnewplace 8 years, 2 months ago

I know from experience that smaller towns are more affordable on everything, including schooling your children. My youngest went to LHS sernior year and it cost about four times what it cost us just the year before. No sports, not counting parking pass or yearbook, just fees alone. It's ridiculious! On the other hand, I would pay probably whatever would be necessary as opposed to my child not getting an education and being another welfare system user, we have more than enough of those

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