Archive for Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lawrence Schools Foundation offering donors chance to help with district’s budget troubles

The Lawrence Schools Foundation, which handles private fundraising for the school district, has started accepting donations to help with the budget crisis.

February 11, 2010

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The Lawrence Schools Foundation, which handles private fundraising for the school district, has started accepting donations to help with the budget crisis.

However, the foundation’s board of trustees is recommending that donors wait until the school board has made its decision about budget cuts in March or April, so the foundation can set up a giving option that addresses specific needs.

Executive Director Susan Esau said the foundation has received calls from people asking if the foundation would get involved. She and Ron Aul, president of the foundation’s trustees, met Wednesday with district leaders, and it was decided to set up a budget assistance fund.

Donors to this fund won’t be able to specify what they want the gift to support, she said. The money will be used for the district’s “general operations.”

“What people have to understand is, that will be at the board’s discretion,” Esau said.

School district leaders are exploring options to cut $5 million from the district’s budget for next school year due to the state’s budget crisis and higher insurance costs. Options such as closing elementary schools and cutting teaching jobs to create larger class sizes have met with some organized public opposition.

She said once board members have made their decisions, the foundation could set up a “Fund-A-Need” giving option for the public.

“It could include anything they’ve cut as long as it’s something they are willing to reinstate,” Esau said.

She said the Lincoln, Neb., public schools foundation has a similar Fund-A-Need giving option. The Lawrence Schools Foundation gives about $6,000 to $10,000 a year in grant funds to schools in certain areas, like academics, the arts, athletics, technology and a “greatest needs” fund, Esau said.

The foundation also annually provides about $300,000 in private funding to support programs, plus local businesses contribute about $700,000 worth of donations, in-kind contributions and volunteer hours annually to schools.

The public can donate to the “budget assistance fund” or learn more information at the foundation’s Web site, lawrenceschoolsfoundation.org.

Comments

braverthanu 5 years, 2 months ago

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JohnDa 5 years, 2 months ago

@lawrenceguy: It amazes me that education has become a political issue. Republicans and Democrats benefit equally from good education. Did you go to school? If so, you need to pay taxes for awhile to pay for what you've already taken.

funkdog1 5 years, 2 months ago

lawrenceguy40 - I've been poor and I've been lower middle class in this life. Never have I ever resented my taxes going toward education. Why don't you walk into a school, any public school in this city and then you tell me where your tax dollars are being wasted.

orbiter 5 years, 2 months ago

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sickofdummies 5 years, 2 months ago

LawrenceGuy40, I have to agree with the others. I am a conservative republican, and partisanship should have no place when it comes to educating our youth. I have young children in public schools, and am very frustrated at the current situation, and fearful of changes to come. However, I would hope that we could all come together to resolve the issue to the benefit of all of our children. I, too, am proud of my opinions and hard work, but your comments are giving your fellow republicans a bad name. I firmly believe in public service, and teach my children to "be the change" that people are constantly requesting. If you dont like something, dont complain about,...be instumental and constructive in solving the problem.

By the way, its obviously been a while since you visited one of our wonderful public schools. And they are wonderful. Employees of our school system are dedicated individuals with higher desires than getting rich. They work hard to give ALL of our children the best education possible. If you visited one of our schools, I doubt you'd find much waste. Today's teachers are expected to do much more with much less than in years before.

How about instead of all the divisiveness, you consider being supportive of our education system and constructive with your comments.

Cindy Yulich 5 years, 2 months ago

LawrenceGuy40 "I paid enough taxes to repay my education"

I think the operative word is "repay". Someone other than you paid for your education initially.

salad 5 years, 2 months ago

Lawrenceguy40 is railing against the wrong issue. He's mad about the fact that the school district is a giant gaping maw that can never be filled, so his solution is to get rid of public education.....which is nuts. Really what we need to do is get rid of the gaping maw, and keep public education. The false premise is that more $$$ = better schools. They have plenty of money to opperate efficiently, they just don't have enough money to opperate the way they always have and carry a massive overhead of educrats and waste accountable to no one. We need to demand better.

JohnDa 5 years, 2 months ago

Salad. The facts are clear. If you spend more money per child in education, they are better educated, and do better on statewide and national exams. So in a way, more money does equal better schools. I'm not for throwing endless money at schools, but it's hard to argue with the numbers.

salad 5 years, 2 months ago

JohnDa (Anonymous) says…

"Salad. The facts are clear. If you spend more money per child in education, they are better educated, and do better on statewide and national exams. So in a way, more money does equal better schools. I'm not for throwing endless money at schools, but it's hard to argue with the numbers."

You are incorrect sir. There are no numbers such as you speak of, and a quick look at KCMO schools along with many other large districts proves you wrong. Parent involvement, clear communication between home and school, and true neighborhood schools are what makes schools work. All that stuff is almost free BTW.

ohgeeze 5 years, 2 months ago

lawrenceguy40 (Anonymous) says… “USD 497 has a staff/student ratio of 1/5. That is incredible and unaffordable. "

Really, that's great! I definitely had 28 third graders all day all by myself. If there are another 4-5 people that can come help me, send them on over! I'd love the help :-)

Oracle_of_Rhode 5 years, 2 months ago

lawrenceguy40 (Anonymous) says…

I have enough self respect not to want to force my neighbors to pay for my benefits.

--

OK, lawrenceguy40 ... from this statement, we assume you pay to pave your own roads, have your own private cops and fire depts, have your own self-financed military, your own private sewer system, and your own private water supply.

If you are using any of these public services, then you are just a welfare-queen, mooching off your neighbors. Oh, and a hypocrite.

Thinking_Out_Loud 5 years, 2 months ago

lawrenceguy40 asked: "What do you say to the elderly citizen on a fixed income who is being forced out of their lifelong family home because of the ever increasing tax burden?"

How about, "It's about time you learned to live within your means, there, Gramps. You could always get a job and stop living off of the rest of us for a change, slacker. If you had more self-respect, you wouldn't be drawing out all that Social Security and relying on Medicare."?

(This is the part where the sarcasm becomes obvious, btw.)

4getabouit 5 years, 2 months ago

Kansas has no ocean, no mountains, no interesting tourist attractions and a gaming (casino) model that actually helps send gambling dollars across state lines to support the Missou Tigers. Those of us from the West Coast recognize and know a good public school system when we see it. Kansas currently has such a system. Destroy this system (and higher ed.) and watch what happens to the economic well-being of the wheat state.

kusp8 5 years, 2 months ago

Haha, lawrenceguy, you got called gramps!

But seriously, what a joke. You and the rest of the crazies, Ann Coulter, Michael Moore, etc., clearly get together once or twice a year for how to best p!s$ people off.

Shardwurm 5 years, 2 months ago

This is pathetic.

Why not hold bake sales to raise more money?

Slash the fat out of the district and you'll be fine. You could cut the budget 50 percent and not affect the education of the children. It's a big fat scam.

getreal 5 years, 2 months ago

Property taxes are rising at a faster rate because the Republican controlled legislature has no problem offering up exemption after exemption and asking you to pay more of the costs to fund vital state programs. You can bet that rather than repeal these exemptions and adequately fund schools they will say make local districts raise their own money by raising property taxes.

We do have a spending problem in Kansas it comes in the form of billions of exemptions given to a few. It has nothing to do with funding public schools. That is an excuse to continue the tax breaks to the few.

It's time people of Kansas stand up and demand the special interst tax breaks stop!!

roggy 5 years, 2 months ago

Shardwurm, Really!? Could you please inform the rest of us about what you would cut? I think every person reading this thread would love to see how to cut 50% and not affect the children. Do share which things you would cut. You could save the school board a lot of indigestion.

tomatogrower 5 years, 2 months ago

awrenceguy40 (Anonymous) says… At last a good idea to solve the so called budget crisis. Those that want to pay for public schools can. The rest of us hard working taxpayers will be robbed no more than we already are. I expect there will be huge contributions from all the liberals with “Save our Schools” yard signs.

I certainly hope you went to a private school, or you would be a total hypocrite. And make sure you send your kids to a private school.

tomatogrower 5 years, 2 months ago

4getabouit (Anonymous) says… Kansas has no ocean, no mountains, no interesting tourist attractions and a gaming (casino) model that actually helps send gambling dollars across state lines to support the Missou Tigers. Those of us from the West Coast recognize and know a good public school system when we see it. Kansas currently has such a system. Destroy this system (and higher ed.) and watch what happens to the economic well-being of the wheat state.

You have it right. The state has been lowering the business tax rate over and over that last several years to attract business to Kansas, but they end up going to the high taxed east and west coast states. Why? Because Kansas has a bad image. But our education has been one of the positives that can tip the scales when a business decides to locate somewhere. Lawrenceguy, don't you think that corporations who benefit from our education system should help pay for it?

beaujackson 5 years, 2 months ago

497 Special Ed. costs are several times that of most towns this size.

Perhaps some "stimulus" funds are available for this?

Stephen Roberts 5 years, 2 months ago

Beau - why are the special ed costs so high?? maybe because Lawrence has such a good reputation educating children withg special needs that people relocate here to send their kids to USD497.

Some people knock Dr. Doll, remember he is using people that Randy Weasemen promoted to their current positions. Maybe the budget issues will allow Dr. Doll to get get rid of the more ineffective staff??

KSManimal 5 years, 2 months ago

Salad say's:

"The false premise is that more $$$ = better schools."

You're wrong:

http://www.kasb.org/legis/EducationFundingJune2009.pdf

Not only that, but the legislature's own 2010 commission report showed that for every 0.83% increase in funding, there was a commensurate 1% increase in district performance outcomes. Google Chairperson Chronister's testimony to see for yourself.

So yes, there IS data to show more money = better schools; AND that data shows the payoff is about 120%.

However, I fully expect you and your ilk will continue to spout uninformed rhetoric in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Your kind cannot allow facts to interfere with your position on any issues. Perhaps that's why you feel so threatened by a quality educational system. It'd be a bit difficult to recruit new zealots if everyone had a good education, wouldn't it?

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