To the editor:
In times of economic difficulty, the easiest targets are always the public schools, the less well-off and the powerless. I feel compelled to respond to Ralph Gagnon’s letter of Feb. 4.
First, I commend the Lawrence public schools for their strong fiscal responsibility during the tenure of Superintendent Weseman. He and the school board have drastically cut administrative positions, instituted fees for regular school classes and activities, cut bus service, cut programs, closed schools and more. There is little, if any, fat left in the Lawrence public schools.
At the same time, teachers and staff continue to provide an excellent education to their many diverse students with wide-ranging needs.
Rather than cutting education, what about working together to find answers that don’t punish one entity more than another? What about a bipartisan solution? What if state legislators provided tax cuts in prosperous years, and reinstated those taxes in lean years? What about consolidating small school districts in western Kansas, since they’re the most expensive users of public education? Despite a Kansas Supreme Court ruling, the state legislature is determined to slash public education with no thought to the consequences.
I strongly support all USD 497 employees who work incredibly hard for students, and I thank them for all they do on behalf of the young people of this community. Please ask legislators across the state to fully support public education in creative ways that will bring people and politics together. It’s the right thing to do.