Letters to the Editor

Cut the days

February 6, 2010


To the editor:

Here’s an idea. Figure out what it costs per day to provide a quality education for the children of Lawrence. Add in a raise for teachers and other employees, and do not make any more budget cuts. Take the cost per day and divide it into the amount of dollars the state provides for funding K-12 education in Kansas. The result is the number of school days for the school year.

Yes, I know the state requires a specified number of instructional days per year. But, Kansas, you can’t have it both ways. You get what you pay for.


kansasmutt 7 years, 10 months ago

First thing to do. Figure out why MIT students are getting dumber by the year. They cant score an average over 75 on a test. The schools are not teaching, they are becoming social centers at our (tax payers) expense. Go back to the basics and get it right, then ask for your funding back.

youngjayhawk 7 years, 10 months ago

Lengthening the school day and shortening the calendar year is an excellent way to save money. The concept can be shared by ALL without singling out one particular school or group, and with no detriment to the education of the students. Everyone WINS!

areyousure 7 years, 10 months ago

In what specific ways would shortening the number of days school is in session help with the budget shortage? Especially if employees are getting a pay increase?

One less day of busing? That will cut 1/5 of the busing costs. Utilities? A longer day means the lights will be on longer. There will be less occupied days which may help in heating and cooling costs.

Teacher salaries? Regardless of when they teach, the teachers will be paid for the number of hours required by the state. District office staff works 8-5 all year round. A shortened school year probably won't help that expense much.

A longer school day - when will the students have time for those activies normally done after the school day - sports, clubs and other programs.

windex 7 years, 10 months ago

kansasmutt, when was the last time you were physically inside a public school?

Steve Clark 7 years, 10 months ago

Yes, windex, I had the same question of kansasmutt. Basics? Are you serious?

ohgeeze 7 years, 10 months ago

"Yes, I know the state requires a specified number of instructional days per year."

...then why'd you bother writing the LTE?

And the superintendant has already said that shortening the school week wouldn't be very cost effective. The reason that smaller districts in western Kansas are seeing significant savings is because of the enormous amount of money they spend on transportation. Here in Lawrence we wouldn't see that, especially after cutting bussing within the 2.5 mile range. Not saying I favor one way or another, this is just the information that has been presented. If you watch the video of the study session and the board meetings, a lot of these questions have already been answered.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

Smaller Kansas districts probably might be receiving more money per student. The wealthier districts help subsidize smaller rural districts.

Kansas needs a new source of revenue that has yet to be tapped. We call it online sales tax dedicated to public education only.

This is better than increasing fees,closing schools and laying off teachers.

Also putting the luxury admin office on the market to help offset the multimillion dollar sports projects is not a bad idea. Move USD 497 back into the community to the virtual school building.

KSManimal 7 years, 10 months ago

kansasmutt (Anonymous) says…

"First thing to do. Figure out why MIT students are getting dumber by the year. They cant score an average over 75 on a test. The schools are not teaching, they are becoming social centers at our (tax payers) expense. Go back to the basics and get it right, then ask for your funding back."

Someone's getting dumber by the year, but it's not MIT students...

kansasmutt: having a group of students NOT score an average of over 75 say's things are JUST RIGHT. See, 75 is a middle range "C", and that grade is INTENDED to communicate "average" work. So, if the schools are doing things right and testing at the proper level....the AVERAGE should be, well....(drum roll, please....) AVERAGE!

You've fallen prey to the Bush administrations effort to denigrate public education by suggesting that, somehow, schools are failing unless ALL students are "above average" by 2014. If you have some brilliant way to make the average score rise to above average....I'm sure the math department at MIT would love to hear of it.......

As to the original letter....yeah, statute requires a certain number of days in the school year. Then again, the constitution requires schools actually be funded. Not only has the legislature cut school funding back four years, but February marks the 4th month in a row that schools were NOT PAID as scheduled.

kansasmutt 7 years, 10 months ago

The testing of MIT students was done by the staff at MIT. The trend is startling to the staff and they are looking at the lower system to find a fix. MIT only takes the best minds this planet has to offer and if those students are at a C level, we are in trouble. A c level MIT student puts the average student a whole bunch lower than a c average. To those who ask me how long its been to go into a school , last year was the last time i spent time working with students in a school in Douglas county. I was shocked at the noise, the chaos and the amount of teachers to students. I saw very few positive things and a whole bunch of wasted time and space. I think they need to start teahing real world ideas, not online fictional ideas and also teach respect. Kids are learning to go online for all the answers and not taught to know facts and learn it and retain it. That is scary.

kugrad 7 years, 10 months ago

OK ksmutt, let's hear exactly what public school you "worked" in here in Lawrence, what you did, and for how long. I think your vaugue description of your activity shows that you do not and have not spent any time regularly working with students and that you have no idea what you are talking about. It is pretty clear from your initial post that you are wholly ignorant about trends in education. I also fail to see the validity of using your example of some study of MIT students and their reading comprehension as a summary judgment of public schools in general, particulary since MIT has many international students in attendance.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

It is more apparent than ever that school districts are needing to find additional sources of funding. Teachers deserve salary increases and decent health insurance. Our legislature is not a reliable source although by law it is a state responsibility.

Neighborhood schools are good for Lawrence. No Lawrence neighborhood wants to be without an elementary school within the neighborhood. Lawrence has spoken out on this issue numerous times.

There are families that which cannot afford two cars or bus transportation. Therefore walking and/or bicycling become the modes of choice.

Two revenue sources are available. The online state wide sales tax dedicated to public schools only is a reasonable source.

A local source to help fund USD 497 medical insurance could become available through a local tax again dedicated to USD 497 for salaries, medical insurance and perhaps for school fees only.

Of course these mechanisms will only be supplemental.

All USD 497 schools benefit. Perhaps experienced USD 497 teachers will stop fleeing to Blue Valley as well.

tomatogrower 7 years, 10 months ago

They won't lengthen the school days, because of sports. Sports come first and foremost. Education is just secondary to the business of schools. If they would cut out sports programs at schools, you would find hoards of parents headed to Topeka to beg for higher taxes. Cut music, art, debate, or any special science, social studies, or english classes then no big deal. Good teachers leave teaching, because they can go somewhere and make real money, who cares. Good coaches are all that's needed. Everyone knows that their children are someday going to make millions, because they will be in pro sports. Why bother teaching them history or science?

mr_right_wing 7 years, 10 months ago

Folks who rely on schools as a daycare would flat out hate that idea, but must students and teachers would probably love it! As a kid I would have....just go to school Mon-Wed?! Or shorten the school year by a month or so; October to March!? Yeah! Great! Whoopie!

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