Letters to the Editor

Equity issue

November 1, 2009


To the editor:

Good for Free State High that someone donated enough funds to improve the stadium. Hopefully, Lawrence High School will benefit from a donor some day as well. It may seem unbalanced but understandable that a district wouldn’t turn down a generous gift from a donor because it doesn’t help both schools.

What is worth questioning is the extra funds the school board approved to Free State High School stadium to cover the costs the donor didn’t include in the gift: $27,632 worth of construction work for water and sewer lines! Is the school board planning on allotting LHS this same amount of funds to make improvements on their stadium? It is worth questioning the inequality and the board’s decision making — a gift is one thing but taking from a stretched budget to make the gift work is another.


Richard Heckler 8 years, 5 months ago

Agreed. 100%. In addition to the 20 million dollars.

How USD 497 spends any money should be of interest to all taxpayers.

In fact new expenditures should ALWAYS be approved by the taxpayers.

Since when can any tax paying community afford to look the other way?

How will all of these rehab projects be funded? http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2007/oct/how_should_school_district_pay_20_million_maintena/

Notice voters suggest paying for the estimated $16.5 million dollars in repairs suggested a '' slow as you go".

This was before USD 497 decided to increase our taxes with a $20 million PLAY project which in another poll the voting taxpayers indicated the city SHOULD NOT spend OUR tax dollars. http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2007/may/should_city_spend_20_million_or_more_play_project/

The sad part of this whole issue is elected officials chose to ignore the voting taxpayers when the matter should have been included on a ballot. My speculation is the reason elected officials CHOOSE to ignore the taxpayers is and provide an opportunity for taxpayers TO VOTE is because they know the taxpayers will VOTE DOWN reckless spending.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 5 months ago

It's time to place issues of this nature on a ballot for voter approval.

It's time for a new law that protects tax dollars and tax payers from potential reckless and/or fiscally irresponsible spending of OUR tax dollar revenues.

The NEW LAW would provide voters the right to approve spending on the majority of all projects that in effect spend tax dollars and/or increase OUR tax bills.

The new right to protect OUR revenues from RECKLESS and/or irresponsible spending would impact USD 497 as well as our city,county and planning commissions.

Not only that this NEW RIGHT TO VOTE would reduce corruption within the local government bodies.

This is the only way taxpayers will ever be shown respect.

cato_the_elder 8 years, 5 months ago

The school board should not have accepted the $600,000 donation without a concomitant commitment of public funds to LHS so that equal treatment would have been assured. Short of that, the money should have been rejected. We have had previous school boards that would have done just that. The differences between the two new facilities, especially given the newer school's football "concession/rest room building" with its posh second-floor coaches' complex that is nothing but a disguised football recruiting facility, and the football press box that lacks only the words "Ward Family Scholarship Suites" on its face, are a garish embarrassment. The voters were promised equality between the two high schools' facilities 15 years ago when we were asked to split LHS and build another high school. Never has a promise been so lacking in its keeping.

devobrun 8 years, 5 months ago

At the outset of our country, the constitution was set up to give the voters the right to elect representatives who make decisions.

We live in a democratically elected republic.

You want a democracy.

Change the constitution, Merrill

Amy Heeter 8 years, 5 months ago

I don't know why people get so angry about money being spent on schools and improvments. It's always the same people too harping on and on about money being spent. I will also note that these same people are the first to organize a march or file lawsuits if something is not up to par.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 5 months ago

Who needs to change the constitution?

Local voters can vote in protection for THEIR tax dollars and their local rights by demanding a ballot vote in November.

Why would local elected officials fear allowing taxpayers the right to protect THEIR tax revenues and keep tax increases to a bare minimum?

Local taxpayers need an improved Checks and Balances system at the local level. It guarantees that no part of our local government becomes too powerful.

A NEW right to vote aka improved Checks and Balances system brings the folks who pay the bills into the system thus keeps all of us educated on matters before OUR elected officials.

It's a road to transparency.

windex 8 years, 5 months ago

Meanwhile, maintenance on all sorts of stuff is deferred (until WHEN??), classrooms are filthy, teachers are buying cleaning supplies (our of their own pockets, as usual), and kids are doing basic custodial work.

honestone 8 years, 5 months ago

Equity has always been the issue. When they were pushing the building of their new school they told the public that one sign of equity was that FSHS wasn't going to have a pool to counter everything else that was going to be new at FSHS. Surprise FSHS has a pool. This special expenditure for FSHS isn't anything new. The school board has lots of money...just not for the education of our students

devobrun 8 years, 5 months ago

Merrill, are there any negatives to voting on things?

How would you like to work in an environment where everything is decided by vote? Think about it.

There needs to be a buffer between the masses and implementation of their will. You voted for commissioners, let them lead.

Don't like how they decided? Ask for an explanation, then agree or disagree, then vote accordingly. There are no leaders in a true democracy. And nothing gets done because "unfair" is always with us.

Paul R Getto 8 years, 5 months ago

"USD administrators are handsomely rewarded financially, for their incompetence and largess — at the expense of our students and teachers" ==== An interesting assertion this is. Swan, would you make this statement at a board meeting, sign your name to it and take your chances in court? Some evidence to go with your allegations would be useful. Start with, for example, who is incompetent, how has this been measured? How are Lawrence administrators overpaid compared to their peers?

royalpain 8 years, 5 months ago

What you're all missing is that the funds were for the extension of water and sewer lines. Convince me that water and sewer lines weren't extended at LHS. If they weren't extended at LHS, then the engineers must have designed the entire stadium around the exisiting sewer lines, which in my limited experience would be nothing short of impossible. Sewers run downhill and need readjusted every time somthing is built.

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