Letters to the Editor

Board support

February 5, 2010


To the editor:

The school board has some very difficult and painful decisions regarding the outlined cuts to public schools in the range of $4 million to $5 million for next year. Everyone wants to keep their neighborhood school, and no one wants change. No one wants to have their taxes increased to pay for this. We cannot have it both ways.

Selfishly, for my family, I would like to delay moving the ninth-graders to high school until it will no longer affect us. Realistically, I know that this is something that will probably have to happen next year. Four million dollars is a difficult number to reach without some drastic changes.

I understand the emotion that goes along with all of this, but I am afraid no one will be happy with the necessary changes. We have to support the school board and make the best of a difficult decision.


Richard Heckler 8 years, 1 month ago

East Lawrence will grow and is growing by way of new families moving into east Lawrence or current families having children. Retaining and maintaining existing assets such as schools has been considered fiscally responsible for at least two hundred years.... down right frugal if you will.

This school district does not need a new $17 millon - $25 million monster school for our young children.

*East Lawrence is not a dying farm community. Instead it is a growing community.

*East Lawrence is an attractive neighborhood. The greater majority of new residents CHOSE the east side for a variety of reasons.

  • East Lawrence is the choice neighborhood for restoring old beautiful homes.

  • East Lawrence is about Old growth trees,character of housing,neighborhood street design,proximity to downtown, is easy walking or biking to most destinations like KU and our public schools.

  • East Lawrence has Weavers, Browns Shoe Fit,Dillons, downtown hardware store,D&D tire shop,Liberty Hall,Library,Senior Service Center, used goods such as the antique mall/Fun and Games,Bay Leaf,Kring's, Waxman Candle,Foot Print,Mass Street Music and Cottins Hardware,Chiropractor on 23rd, very nice parks,the new hike and bike trail are but a few of the wonderful attractions to East Lawrence.

  • East Lawrence is not dying and is home to many many many college graduates and "common" laborers.

  • East Lawrence received many thumbs up by a urban consultant Placemakers for our:

  • Home designs
  • layout of neighborhood streets
  • proximity to neighborhood schools
  • sidewalks
  • proximity to dowtown

Closing schools is wasteful thinking.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 1 month ago

Closing New York school will not save $5 million a year. No where close.

Spending $15-$25 million on a larger building will not save taxpayers money. But it will create a ton of traffic congestion. Low income families cannot afford two or three cars..... the primary breadwinner must get to work.

It's time to take a hard look at the expansive admin center - put it on the market. Buying that large chunk of real estate was not a smart move in the first place.

"Rich Minder, the board’s vice president, said board members need to continue to gather information in coming weeks before they make a decision about cuts.

“It’s pretty clear there’s a variety of ways we can come up with $4 million or $5 million. We need to see what varieties we can come up with and what ideas the board members and community members can come up with,” Minder said.

Board members have scheduled four public forums. The first one is 7 p.m. Tuesday at the South Junior High School auditorium, 2734 La."

motomom 8 years, 1 month ago

lovely comment, merrill. i am a centennial parent. closing that school was one of the most difficult things i have ever been a part of. and look...there it sits....lights on, heat going..still "open". you know, the school board already had other ideas about centennial's existence...like the ball fields surrounding it. my children have moved on in school and i emphathize with what lawrence parents are going through. when you love your school and you are passionate about it...this is an extremely personal subject. i HOPE that the board does not have an underlying agenda like they did with the centennial closing....they never even listened to our parents......and i worry that they will not listen to the cordley, new york or wakarusa parents either. it doesn't sit well with me seeing two new high school stadiums(one with GRANITE in the locker rooms, i am told...disgusting...) and the idea of closing these neighborhood schools because lack of money is just plain WRONG. good luck to all. i encourage you all to FIGHT for what you think is right!!!!!!

areyousure 8 years, 1 month ago

Stop with the football fields already. They were part of a bond issue that was passed by voters. The money that was spent could not be used for expenses related to any school closings. Only the per student monies from the state can be used for student costs. The money for the athletic fields like any capital improvements comes from property tax monies. The two funds can not be mixed or used for any other purpose. And those granite upgrades were paid for by a donation.

The public forums are a great opportunity for people to let the board know their feelings and also listen to what the board has to say. School closings have to be a hard decision. But the I imagine that the board members have to consider what is good for the whole of the district not just for the schools which might be closed. I don't think that property values are their concern. That is a concern for the city. It was the Lawrence Chamber who testified against a temporary sales tax that would have helped the funding issue. It is the state legislature that hasn't been able to do anything to help with the declining revenue situation.

It's the difference between a rock and a hard place. The state is receiving less revenue. There is less to spend on many vital services. The only way to increase the funding for schools is to have less for other state services or increase revenues. Unless more money is received, services have to be cut. Do you want more schools with less services or do you want fewer schools but with services remaining that might have be cut - social workers, nurses, counselors, after school activities.

honestone 8 years, 1 month ago

Whenever the parent of a "closed school" child drives by the new stadium on their way to their "new school"...I doubt they care what color the money was to build it. If they close the east side schools where will these children go to school? They issue another bond and they will build a mega school and that will NOT save any money.

kugrad 8 years, 1 month ago

Actually, many people are willing to have their taxes increased IF they know it will fund public education. So, it may be true that no one wants to pay more taxes, but many people, some believe a majority, are willing to do so for this specific purpose. I appreciate the board; I really do. I also appreciate the tough position they are in. However, I don't equate that appreciation with a need to support the decisions they make if I disagree with them. Using the logic of this article, I should support the KS State School Board when they decide to remove evolution standards and teach creationism in public schools. The best way to support the schools now is to communicate with the legislators who are behind this mess. Arguably the biggest enemy of public education in Topeka is the Speaker of the House, Mike O'Neal.

Here is his contact information: Topeka
Room: 390-W Topeka, Kansas 66612 785-296-2302

P.O. Box 2977 Hutchinson, KS 67504 620-662-0537

Richard Heckler 8 years, 1 month ago

Put the decisions to the voters !

Instead of increasing taxes let' s get on with another source of tax dollars: online sales taxes dedicated to public education

Richard Heckler 8 years, 1 month ago

All of what USD 497 taxpayers are being confronted with is coming from some on the board. They are dictating to Rick Doll let's not kid ourselves. Mr Morgan is leading the charge.

Mr Morgan has been wanting to do these things for years. The question becomes who is dictating to Mr. Morgan. Who is advising Mr. Morgan.... former USD 497 people?

kugrad 8 years, 1 month ago

Merrill, What about Mary Loveland? She has tried to close East Side schools every time she has been in office, even without budgetary crisis. She was trying to close East Lawrence schools back in 1987 according to LJW articles from that time period (some of which can be seen at the SOS display at the Perculator).

honestone 8 years, 1 month ago

Mary Loveland is a major opponent of east side schools and Morgan sits in her pocket.
I am still asking the question if they close the east side schools...where do they plan on educating the children that live on "that side of town? I am amazed that a few years ago the reason for splitting the high schools was that the bigger class size was counter to a good education. Why is this different?

agnes17 8 years, 1 month ago

If I am understanding the writer correctly, she's advocating support the board, just because they are the board? Likely, it is never wise to blindly support a government body in time of crisis. It seems this is when they are most likely to make long lasting mistakes.

Those of us informed on the matter, know that the quality of education is going to change irregardless of closure. I would challenge the writer to think a bit more critically. What is the action that the board can take that will create the least harm and support that. They will have options; tell them which you think is best, but never tell them do whatever you want- I trust you.

Stephen Roberts 8 years, 1 month ago

Instead of questioning authority, we should question people who cut & paste. Maybe one day he will have an original thought??? Doubt it.

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