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Letters to the Editor

Kindergarten data

June 21, 2009

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To the editor:

The athletic field improvements to LHS and FSHS are around $15 million. The Lawrence school board cuts for 2009-10 are more than $2.5 million.

I’m among the growing number of parents wondering how the district justifies a $15 million expenditure on football fields, while continuing to cut into academic programs. A point of contention is the lack of districtwide, full-day kindergarten. Studies done by the Indiana DOE indicate many benefits of full-day kindergarten:

• significant progress in literacy, math, general learning skills, and social skills;

• more appropriate challenges for children at all developmental levels, resulting in social and academic benefits;

• the number of transitions kindergartners face in a typical day can be reduced.

Nearly every parent I’ve spoken to wants districtwide full-day kindergarten. Most are willing to pay the extra $70 or more to have our kids in a full-day kindergarten class if that’s what it’d take.

Many of our kids have been in either full-day preschool or child care. I fail to see the logic of having a child accustomed transition to half-day kindergarten, then back to full-day first grade, given the research.

Multiple trips to school to pick up our kids at different times only makes matters worse. So, somebody tell us how we can afford to put artificial turf on football fields but can’t afford full-day kindergarten. As I see it, the cost-benefit analysis just doesn’t add up.

Craven is from Lawrence

Comments

mom_of_three 5 years, 6 months ago

And 9th graders should be going to high school, but that isn't going to happen either. Kids who live closer than 2.5 miles to school should also have a safe way to get there, since they are unable to, or do not have a safe course to travel. Lots of things the district should do to help students, including keeping the wrap program, but money problems cut those, too. Perhaps the new superintendant can find a way to cut money.
But as it has been stated before, the new athletic fields are separate money, but I do believe they were needed. Lawrence HIgh students had to travel to practice or home games for every sport, except track and tennis. FSHS did for football and soccer. If money grew on trees, education could be everything for everyone.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 6 months ago

And let me guess: taxpayers should also fund all-day pre-school. And all-day nursery school. And two hours a week at Sylvan. And four years of college. Anything else on the wish list?

4getabouit 5 years, 6 months ago

There is a short answer to your question Craven. State statue does not allow school districts to mingle capital and general funds. Levied capital funds are used for maintenance and new construction, like athletic fields. These funds cannot be used for general fund programs like full day kindergarten or salaries. The JW has made this point many times.

WHY 5 years, 6 months ago

Mom of three-- Letting 9th graders stay at the junior high is a great idea. Those kids are going through a difficult adolescent time and there is no reason to put them in a building with kids 4 years older, some of whom are full grown adults.

funkdog1 5 years, 6 months ago

I agree with WHY. Ninth graders are 14 and 15. There's a huge social difference between 14 year olds and 18 year olds. Better to let the ninth graders be top of the jr. high heap then at the bottom of high school where the older kids are getting into adult pursuits.

dandelion 5 years, 6 months ago

I believe it's the state that determines how much capital funds that schools get and how much general funds. I think the state people are pro sports, anti education. And before you tell me how important sports are to teaching students responsibility, I don't disagree with that. I just think things are getting tipped to far towards the sports. My sister also told me that if they don't spend all the general fund money, then it rolls over to the capital fund. Why do they have to have a zero balance at the end of the year's general fund. Why can't this be allowed to roll over for the next year, and for education purposes? Maybe it should roll over into a special fund for textbook purchases.

salad 5 years, 6 months ago

Why/funkdog, I couldn't possibly disagree more: 9th graders belong in HS. Additionally, they will HATE you for your futile and misguided efforts to keep them babies forever. I bet you cash money if we polled all the potential 9th graders, it'd run about 99% in favor of 4 yr. HS. As far as "getting into adult persuits"??? Your head: pull it out of the sand. They've been getting into adult persuits for years already. Better to let them grow up and be around more mature peers than to pick on poor little 7th graders.

notajayhawk 5 years, 6 months ago

4getabouit (Anonymous) says…

"There is a short answer to your question Craven. State statue does not allow school districts to mingle capital and general funds. Levied capital funds are used for maintenance and new construction, like athletic fields. These funds cannot be used for general fund programs like full day kindergarten or salaries. The JW has made this point many times."

Then perhaps they should have levied more for operating expenditures and less for capital improvements?

Just a thought.

kugrad 5 years, 6 months ago

Notajayhaw, it doesn't work like that. This is why people always think the district makes no sense and plans poorly - its hands are tied by the federal and state law. Now, planning was done very poorly IMO back in the days of Al Azinger and before. Weseman has at least brought the district into the modern age of forward planning, so effiency is greatly improved over the past. Still, the State does not reward efficiency. For an example relevant to your suggestion, let's say the district implements efficiencies in operating expenditures and saves a bunch of money. Each year they have to spend that money or lose it (and possibly face losing it in subsequent years). They can't bank it, accumulate it, save it toward a long-term goal. Is this ridiculous? Hell yes, but the district isn't responsible, it is the law. What every available funding source can be used for is dictated by law. As 4getaboutit correctly points out, you can't mix funds. As for the sports issue; well sports do contribute to education even if some people don't understand that. The big sports actually generate revenue long term. Putting in turf will save the district watering and maintanence costs that are huge (don't quote me, but I believe it is well over $80,000 a year including personnel time?). It will more than pay for itself. There are upsides and downsides, but one thing is certain. The expenditures on sports and facilities do not indicate that the district does not understand the benefits of early childhood programs, nor any preference for sports over those programs. The issue with all-day KG district wide is funding, plain and simple. People want services, they just don't want to pay for them. Kansans need to recognize that the absurd tax-cutting fervor of the legislature resulted in poor fiscal management at the State level which is now causing us huge problems at the local level.

d_prowess 5 years, 6 months ago

I question the LJW for printing this letter. Anyone that has spent more than about 2 minutes to read a single article about those fields would know that the money spent for it couldn't be used for something like what the writer wants. So why would the LJW print a letter so obviously incorrect at its core belief? Online, most people will probably read the answer above, but in the print version, this will only cause the possible spreading of an incorrect point.

KSManimal 5 years, 6 months ago

Considering the legal and financial binds our school district is in (binds that aren't mutually exclusive...), they've done a good job of keeping the core functions of public school going. At this point, they are backed into cutting deep, and those things that they aren't legally obligated to provide (busing, crossing guards, etc.) will of course be the first to go.

Whenever you're displeased with the seemingly ridiculous legal/financial doings of the school district, be sure to aim your slings and arrows towards Topeka where they belong. You know, that big building with the green dome on top.....

paavopetie 5 years, 6 months ago

"And let me guess: taxpayers should also fund all-day pre-school. And all-day nursery school. And two hours a week at Sylvan. And four years of college. Anything else on the wish list?"

Well, they already let you pay for early childhood care pre-tax dollars. Which I am fine with. And, YES, college should be fully-funded, at least for the degrees we need (teachers, engineers, accountants) as long as there is a stipulation that the student will finish. Drop out or change majors to art means they would be responsible for the tuition money the government covered.

honestone 5 years, 6 months ago

Everyone understands the concept of capital funds but...the next time the district comes to the voters with their hand out they shouldn't be suprised if these fields are repeatedly brought up as a reason for the voters saying NO MORE MONEY YOU FOOLS

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