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Letters to the Editor

Mismanaged?

February 5, 2010

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To the editor:

Word on the street in the state capital sounds like this: “We feel we have been generous to Kansas school district funding. We feel the monies have been mismanaged.” That’s the word, like it or not. So, I will ask the question: Are the funds being mismanaged?

After reviewing the proposed budget, I noticed there are a lot of unemcumbered line items with no description, purchase of land and architectural funds allocated for that specific land purchase. Tell me about those.

We all know small, local schools are good for kids. Consolidation is the new national “phenomenon.” “No child left behind” is good in theory. Where are we headed?

Seems school districts are top heavy with administration.

As the old saying goes, “If you want fat cows, feed them, don’t weigh them!”

Comments

commuter 4 years, 2 months ago

Why don't we tax people who cut and paste??

Didn't thew JOCO voters approve an increase in sales tax to fund education???? Whar did the Progressives in Lawrence Fund?? Roads, general purpose (??), and the T.

http://lawrenceks.org/sales_tax_proposals/tax_rate_comparision

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 2 months 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

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Benjamin Roberts 4 years, 2 months ago

"Seems school districts are top heavy with administration."

This top heavy administration, includes 33 principals, associate principals, and assistant principals for 23 schools; 26 administrators at the ESDC (Administration Building); and, 55 administrative services employees at a cost of over $8M.

This same group of administrators have been put in charge of providing budget cut recommendations. They have set themselves up as the "sacred cow" and have no intention of skewering that cow. The Board needs to make that decision for them and bestow the "sacred cow" status on the children, their schools, and classroom teachers. http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/did_i...

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 2 months ago

USD 497 seems preoccupied with owning real estate(gambling) such as the new more than $22,000 per acre purchase of 76 acres that they may or may not need at a cost of $1.73 million.

Who creates the need for new schools? Developers and real estate speculators. New infrastructure makes their investments more valuable. This group should donate property for schools,fire departments and parks.

=============== "School district leaders said they did not have a firm plan for the property, but said it could be used for a future school site or a new outdoor campus and wellness center that is gaining momentum with Bill Self’s Assists Foundation and also with a private board led by Lawrence businessman John McGrew.

“The answer of what we’re going to do with it right now is nothing because we have no money for it,” school board member Scott Morgan said of the land.

Instead, Morgan said the purchase came after the previous school board instructed staff members to look for land opportunities south of Lawrence because that is where the largest amount of undeveloped land in the district is located.

Frank Harwood, chief operations officer for the district, said the money the school district used for the purchase came from the district’s capital outlay fund. By state law, that money can’t be used for teacher salaries or other operational expenses.

Harwood and Morgan also said it was proper for the district to be considering future school sites at the same time that it may have to close some existing schools. Morgan said the district was acting responsibly by buying property ahead of development, and looking forward to the day that new areas of town will need to be served by schools.

“If you are buying land the day you need to build something, you have done something wrong because then everybody knows you need it and the price will be high,” Morgan said. “If we take a little heat now for this decision, it will be well worth it in terms of the gift that we will have given to some future school board. It is something that will help future school boards immensely.”

Harwood also believes the purchase represents little risk to the district. He said if the district discovers that the site is not well-suited for its purposes, it is likely that the property will draw heavy interest from developers because of its location.

At 76 acres, the site is also large enough that part of the property could be used for a school and the balance could be sold for a profit. An elementary school, for example, generally needs about 25 acres" ---( too much Wall Street attitude for my tax dollars)

Again who creates the need for new schools? Developers and real estate speculators. New infrastructure makes their investments more valuable. This group should donate property for schools,fire departments and parks.

Voters should have the right to approve new real estate purchases.

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 2 months ago

The district has been reducing payroll for several years by "encouraged" retirement. Where's the money? Those teachers seem to flock toward Blue Valley where they make yet more money than they were in USD 497.

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."

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anon1958 4 years, 2 months ago

Well who gives a ^&%$#&^ what those idiots "feel" like. The FACT is that the Kansas Supreme Court has RULED different than they feel. If something has been mismanaged, I think the first people to lay blame to are these touchy feely members of the legislature.

Quoting Gurney Halleck, chastising Paul Atriedes for not "feeling" like practicing his swordsmanship,

"FEELING!?, FEELINGS ARE FOR CATTLE AND LOVE PLAY!!"

Someone that lives in Topeka please yell Halleck's admonition into the ear of the nearest nincompoop politician for me. - - - P.S. Dang it I used an uncommon word again, Puddlegum is going to go all thesarus emo on us again,

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