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Letters to the Editor

Closing motives

February 20, 2010

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To the editor:

School Board President Scott Morgan commented (Journal-World, Feb. 16) that he didn’t necessarily want people to react strongly when he let them know that closing schools was an option in the current budgetary crisis. I’m sure that’s true. When the citizens let them know what they care about, it limits their options.

It’s no accident that Morgan and Mary Loveland were both on the school board in 2003 when Centennial, Riverside and East Heights elementary schools were closed. Why would anyone want to oppose further school closings? It’s good for the economy! When we close schools, people will quit moving in and fixing up those nice old houses with the big trees and yards. The area goes to renters, which makes money for the landlords and keeps the young families from getting inexpensive startup homes. If it’s near Kansas University, they will pack five or so students into a “single-family home” and the city will look the other way.

After a time as rental property, the houses will degenerate and eventually be cleared, which makes way for development. Development is the engine that drives that great infinite expansion into the future that knows no bounds. If we clear away those old neighborhoods, we can have development even if the population doesn’t grow. So there are lots of good reasons for closing schools.

Why would we want to turn off those bright lights that stay on all night in the south LHS parking lots? That, too, drives the economy, and lights up the corpse of Centennial School.

Comments

Pilgrim2 4 years, 1 month ago

My correction: Gray-Little.

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Pilgrim2 4 years, 1 month ago

xeniahawk (anonymous) says...

KU pays a portion of that salary through state funds to support institutional control. In the current fiscal year, $194,011 of his $900,000 salary is paid using state funds. The balance comes from Kansas Athletics funds.


A) Correction: $600,000 salary. B) Thanks for proving my point. C) Given what Perkins brings to Kansas vs what our last two governors have brought, I'd say that's about right. D) Bernadette Little-Gray makes about three times what the governor makes (liberally assuming your figures are accurate), and I didn't see her name on the ballot, either. So your point is... ?

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paulette2 4 years, 1 month ago

Just look at Morgan - you can tell that he needs to be under oath! He is an attorney after all and knows that you can't get him for perjury very easily unless he is under oath.

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xeniahawk 4 years, 1 month ago

Lucy1, you must be lapping up the same drivel that Pilgram is:

KU pays a portion of that salary through state funds to support institutional control. In the current fiscal year, $194,011 of his $900,000 salary is paid using state funds. The balance comes from Kansas Athletics funds.

http://www.ktka.com/news/2009/apr/22/lew_perkins_deal_ku_includes_kansas_athletics_cove/

By the way, I didn't state that all of Slick Perkins' salary was paid by the Kansas taxpayer - just a portion which by the way is almost double of that of our governor. I don't remember Lew Perkins name ever being on the ballot?!

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witchfindergeneral 4 years, 1 month ago

"After a time as rental property, the houses will degenerate and eventually be cleared, which makes way for development. Development is the engine that drives that great infinite expansion into the future that knows no bounds."

I long for the day when those decrepit Old West Lawrence houses are demolished to make room for beautiful strip malls and McMansions. Pave those disgusting bricks streets, cut down the hippie trees--lets's make Old West Lawrence the new New West Lawrence! Nevermind history and aesthetics--in God's America, business is king.

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lucy1 4 years, 1 month ago

hedshrinker

Families are not moving there. If they were we would not be looking at closing a school with enrollment under 200. I’m sure your property has increased in value. Is it because it worth more, or just inflation? Tell me your block; I would like to see the clean one with families.

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lucy1 4 years, 1 month ago

xeniahawk show me where perkin is paid from the state of kansas. copy and paste it here. put up.

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George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

xeniahawk (anonymous) says...

Morning, I agree that income distribution is badly skewed. However, it is the taxpayers of Kansas that are willing to pay the high costs of athletics here abouts. Sports, including football field in Lawrence seem to have a very high priority

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xeniahawk 4 years, 1 month ago

Hey Pilgrim, your ignorance is overwhelming. Perkins is NOT paid out of the KU Athletics Corp! He is the highest paid public employee in the state of Kansas. YOU get it right.

http://www.kansas.com/salaries/kansas/?appSession=416139683296333

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Hydra 4 years, 1 month ago

Here's some quotes from Will Rogers that seem to fit the situation.

Anything important is never left to the vote of the people. We only get to vote on some man; we never get to vote on what he is to do

A fool and his money are soon elected.

Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.

Instead of giving money to found colleges to promote learning, why don't they pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? If it works as good as the Prohibition one did, why, in five years we would have the smartest race of people on earth.

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Bob Kraxner 4 years, 1 month ago

Why don't you all just impeach all the a$$holes who are running your school district??? isn't there some way to stop these people who spent 6million dollars on footbal stadiums? why did USD 497 need football stadiums? were there some kind of kickbacks involved? Sounds to me like you people need to get rid of someone at the top of the heap... so what is the problem, what are you waiting for?

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Pilgrim2 4 years, 1 month ago

xeniahawk (anonymous) says...

Hey Number_1_Grandma - How about the other 6 bureaucrats at McDonald Drive that make more than the governor. Are their responsibilities more than the governor. Fire them all and let Lew Perkins run this outfit. He only makes $600,000 on the backs of the Kansas taxpayers.


Perkins is paid by KU Athletics, not state tax dollars.

Are you going to get any facts right in this thread?

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Pilgrim2 4 years, 1 month ago

xeniahawk (anonymous) says...

Hey Pilgrim you made my point exactly. Government is already redistributing my wealth (and I DON'T want it doing so). My property taxes are going to fund football fields when I thought they were going to be used to fund our schools. Did the voters know about how their tax monies were going to be spent during the elections and then the district would turn around and layoff teachers and close schools? I don't think so! If the crooked district had told the people that they were going to use $6 million to build football stadiums then I seriously doubt the bond issues would have passed. This is not only a redistribution of MY wealth to the power brokers of this community but it is FRAUD! Now, the same traitors that deceived us initially have sounded off that they need to lay off hard working educators they are turning around and crying for more money! Why would anyone trust their motives given the circumstances of this travesty.


Yup, those paranoia meds definitely need adjustment. Getting you to back off the class envy meter is probably a lost cause. More's the pity.

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jumpin_catfish 4 years, 1 month ago

That's just silly talk. ♣Free The Blob♣

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xeniahawk 4 years, 1 month ago

Hey Pilgrim, go back to watching the Fox Network and eating up the drivel that Bill O'Reilly is serving up nightly. You deserve it!

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xeniahawk 4 years, 1 month ago

Hey Moderate, what are your standards as this is what occurring today. They are getting ready to close more schools in Lawrence yet Lew Perkins gets over $600.000 from the State of Kansas taxpayers. When did we vote him in as our highest paid public servant.? Did you approve of this?

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puckstah 4 years, 1 month ago

Dog - do we really know how much money is in the USD 497 bank? I think not.

The district hasn't shown anything related to how much they have in the accounts....only what they want to cut. Yes, the KS Legislature is holding out on funding public education - it's a travesty. It may be that our own district is also doing this...since they won't show the numbers.....show us the money!

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George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

xeniahawk (anonymous) says... Why does Richard Doll, Superintendent of Lawrence Public Schools make over $150,000 yet the governor of the State of Kansas only makes $107,000 annually?

Doesn't the governor get a bunch of in kind stuff?

Comparisons of income are veryt dangerous. Should athletic directors get more than school superintendents? Should the leader of KU make more than the governor and a whole lot of other people hereabouts? Where are you getting your standards for determining income??

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George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

Did_I_say_that (anonymous) says...

Yes, I was asking you that question not putting words in your mouth

The comments on advocacy were titled "General" and did not refer to you.

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xeniahawk 4 years, 1 month ago

Hey Number_1_Grandma - How about the other 6 bureaucrats at McDonald Drive that make more than the governor. Are their responsibilities more than the governor. Fire them all and let Lew Perkins run this outfit. He only makes $600,000 on the backs of the Kansas taxpayers. The whole system is screwed up.

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Number_1_Grandma 4 years, 1 month ago

xeniahawk (anonymous) says... Why does Richard Doll, Superintendent of Lawrence Public Schools make over $150,000 yet the governor of the State of Kansas only makes $107,000 annually?


This is nothing new. Check clear back when Carl Knox was superintendent, he was paid more than the governor of Kansas. Always has been this way and probably will continue to be this way!

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xeniahawk 4 years, 1 month ago

Hey Pilgrim you made my point exactly. Government is already redistributing my wealth (and I DON'T want it doing so). My property taxes are going to fund football fields when I thought they were going to be used to fund our schools. Did the voters know about how their tax monies were going to be spent during the elections and then the district would turn around and layoff teachers and close schools? I don't think so! If the crooked district had told the people that they were going to use $6 million to build football stadiums then I seriously doubt the bond issues would have passed. This is not only a redistribution of MY wealth to the power brokers of this community but it is FRAUD! Now, the same traitors that deceived us initially have sounded off that they need to lay off hard working educators they are turning around and crying for more money! Why would anyone trust their motives given the circumstances of this travesty. Looks like the fox guarding the hen house to me! Are you one of the foxes?

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Benjamin Roberts 4 years, 1 month ago

"I am amazed that people would believe that Scott or Mary would volunteer for a position that included having to make such difficult choices."

I thought that they did volunteer; in fact, they jumped up and said, "Me, Me, pick me! Pick me!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GmuHYcdNOE

♣Free The Blog♣

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Dog 4 years, 1 month ago

I am amazed that people would believe that Scott or Mary would volunteer for a position that included having to make such difficult choices. Every member of the school board should be commended for their service during this most difficult time. The truth is that there is not enough money in the bank to cover expenses. Yes, administrative services need to be reduced and I hope that this happens. Bottom line is that the district has too many empty seats and not enough students to fill them and it is not cost effective.

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Benjamin Roberts 4 years, 1 month ago

@ Moderate (George Lippencott) - George, you have done it again. There is no place that I have said what you quoted, "And could it have gone up more if we had not cloe3d [sic] schools?" Therefore, I must assume that you are asking that question of me.

Yes, it could have, or no, it may not have. We do not know. We only know that the District closed the three schools stating that it was necessary in order to reduce the 2003/2004 budget by $4 million. The lied. They did not reduce the budget; it increased. There is no reason to believe that it will be any different now.

What advocacy group are you referencing? I am not a part of any group. I am able to think, research, and state my own positions supported by fact.

♣Free The Blog♣

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George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

Did_I_say_that (anonymous) says...

And could it have gone up more if we had not close3d schools?

General

Why is it that every advocacy group feels it represents the majority? Wait unitl the board starts to select options to reduce costs and the great middle may just surface if the choices made hurt their kids!

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oneeye_wilbur 4 years, 1 month ago

lindseydoyle, paring back admin jobs to the 70's levels is fine, if the total mill levy is pared back as well and left there. Then and only then, when a new business comes to town , with new construction of a building, , that business begins paying property taxes, the district can only spend that much money. That's all they get. No mill levy increase.

That said, the cuts need to begin and the board members need to do it now and if their "friends and neighors" aren't happy, so be it.

After all, in todays J/W Saturday Column the writer informed us that there should be focus on the really important things facing folks.

Would Mr. Doll quit. if his pay was reduced by 10%? I doubt it. If he did, would someone else take the job for $135,000. I am quite certain.

The teachers would be wise to get rid of the teachers union now instead of later.

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lindseydoyle 4 years, 1 month ago

Start paring back admin jobs to 70s levels. The way bureacratic empire-building works is that programs and positions are created, expanding the empire. These programs impose an impediment to those who do the real work, the teachers. It is the children who ultimately suffer (and the taxpayer.) Get over the idea that teachers are underpaid. Their unions have been whining for decades to get full-time pay for their part-time jobs.

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Pilgrim2 4 years, 1 month ago

xeniahawk (anonymous) says...

If you don't believe this then you must believe that the government is doing a great job in their responsibilities of governance and the redistribution of wealth in our economy.


Redistribution of wealth is NOT the job of the government. But it's nice to see you finally admit to your real motives here. May I suggest you back off on that class envy meter. You're gonna bend the needle.

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

~ The late Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931 - 2005 ~

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Benjamin Roberts 4 years, 1 month ago

@ srj - The legislature did indeed fail to fund schools at the projected level. However, that does not negate the fact that USD 497 has increased its spending by 40% in six years. They increased spending at twice the rate of COLA. The legislature's failure has brought into focus the inability of Administration and the School Board to manage a budget. If Administration and the School Board had increased spending at the rate of COLA there would be an excess of $11 million this year alone. There would also have been surpluses for the past 4 years.

The District has already proven that closing schools does not save the District money. Despite the closing of THREE elementary schools in 2003, spending went up by an average of $5 million per year through 2009.

♣Free The Blog♣

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Pilgrim2 4 years, 1 month ago

xeniahawk (anonymous) says...

Hmmm Pilgrim, you must homeschool your kids. State laws are meant to be changed when the mealy mouthed legislators in Topeka quit sending the money down from the State house.


K-12 education already accounts for half of the state's general fund. Add in secondary education, and the figure jumps to 66%. When you're the one eating the biggest piece of the budget pie, you should expect to be included when the doctor says you have to go on a diet.

Funny, that the elites in the system find a way to pay for what they want and yet stick it to the rest of the people (including their children).


I'll repeat this for you one more time. I'll try to type slowly so you can keep up. Not building the stadiums would not have made a dime's worth of difference in the current budget discussions. Not a single dime. Get it? Got it? Good.

Maybe, YOU work at McDonald Drive.


Or maybe your conspiracy paranoia have finally overcome the ability of your medications to control it. Get those meds adjusted ASAP.

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wolfy 4 years, 1 month ago

A bill recently passed the house that would permit certain capital funds to be used for general operating budgets. I don't know how, or even if, this measure would provide flexibility for USD 497, but it's good public policy nonetheless.

Once we know how much $$ in unencumbered carryovers is sitting in special funds, we will be able to engage in a reasoned debate about short- and long-term priorities. It's too early to impugn the motives of our elected officials, and it is counter-productive to engage in community in-fighting. I still love Lawrence for all its diversity of people and ideas. And I still have faith that our school board is not corrupt and will ultimately make decisions with the interests of its entire constituency in mind.

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grammaddy 4 years, 1 month ago

"Neighborhood schools are a luxury..." To who? Certainly not to the kids who have to walk to school.

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Steve Jacob 4 years, 1 month ago

Neighborhood schools are a luxury nobody wants to pay for anymore, and you know this state will not raise taxes under Brownback. I think the school board is looking ahead, because even if you cut the millions this year without closings, 2011 and 2012 comes along, and do you think the state will meet revenue projects anytime in the future?

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beaujackson 4 years, 1 month ago

Joe Stack flew his plane into the wrong building.

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xeniahawk 4 years, 1 month ago

Why does Richard Doll, Superintendent of Lawrence Public Schools make over $150,000 yet the governor of the State of Kansas only makes $107,000 annually? There is a series of checks and balances in Topeka yet our school board just rubber stamps proposals coming out of McDonald Drive as gospel. Does anyone have the courage to make the hard decisions and start dismantling this train wreck of an administration? I understand the concept of capital outlay budgeting vs. general operating funds quite well. The federal government has been stealing from the Socal Security trust fund to fund operating expenditures which has occurred for decades. Why can't we, as a local taxing authority, have the right to change the rules when the state house changes the rules for us at the local level. This is just a scheme for the power brokers (yes that includes Scott Morgan and Mary Loveland) to funnel bond issue tax money to contracting firms and developers who make out like bandits at the expense of taxpayers and our kids. If you don't believe this then you must believe that the government is doing a great job in their responsibilities of governance and the redistribution of wealth in our economy. I hope you won't be waiting on that social security check!

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hedshrinker 4 years, 1 month ago

I deplore the classist attitude of Lucy1, implying that central Lawrence neighborhoods are depopulated sacrifice wastelands that nobody wants to live in. There are many young families who choose to live in the older, central, historic neighborhoods filled with interesting old housing stock which they're excited to save, they love the age/class/ethnic diversity, activist neighborhood organizations, actually knowing and being involved with neighbors on tasks and leisure time and raising their kids to value something of substance beyond living in suburbia in a sterile Mchouse which costs more than they can afford. As a middle-aged professional, I'm not alone in preferring to live in central Lawrence; every house on my block is occupied and cared for and my property has significantly appreciated every year for the past 20 years .Many people choose to live in Lawrence even tho they work in KC or Topeka b/c they want their kids to go to Lawrence neighborhood schools; our educational system is one of Lawrence's big draws. Let's work to preserve that. US standing in the world, our competitive edge depends on quality education; it's so frightening to see our local, state and Fed gov't making foolish financial decisions regarding public education (including universities) that will result in a lost generation.

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 1 month ago

Top USD 497 Admin Officials

Chief Officers - 2 - $278,047

Coordinator - 1 - $76,808

Director, Assistant - 3 - $276,461

Directors - 3 - $279,240 / $72,612 paid from local funds

Division Directors - 9 - $988,797 / $74,367 paid from Food Service funds

Specialist - 6 - $494,209 / $150,908 paid from Federal Funds

Superintendent - 1 - $174,706 / Required by Statute

Supervisor - 1 - $96,521

Total Pay Tax Dollars = $2,660,789

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xeniahawk 4 years, 1 month ago

Hmmm Pilgrim, you must homeschool your kids. State laws are meant to be changed when the mealy mouthed legislators in Topeka quit sending the money down from the State house. Funny, that the elites in the system find a way to pay for what they want and yet stick it to the rest of the people (including their children). Maybe, YOU work at McDonald Drive.

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xeniahawk 4 years, 1 month ago

Hmmm Pilgrim, you must homeschool your kids. State laws are meant to be changed when the mealy mouthed legislators in Topeka quit sending the money down from the State house. Funny, that the elites in the system find a way to pay for what they want and yet stick it to the rest of the people (including their children). Maybe, YOU work at McDonald Drive.

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Pilgrim2 4 years, 1 month ago

xeniahawk (anonymous) says...

Didn't this band of bureaucrats just find enough money to build two brand new football stadiums and redo the astroturf at Free State baseball stadium????? Seems like there is plenty of money to go around but when the state starts tightening down, then the talk turns to laying off teachers, closing down schools and eliminating bus service, yet we have the millions for new sports facilities.


The school board followed state law, which prohibits using capital improvement monies from being mixed with general operating funds. Not building the stadiums would not have made a dime's bit of difference to the budget issues now under discussion. Not one dime.

Why is it, in a town so allegedly full of smart people, the lack of knowledge of Kansas school finance law is so constantly on display?

Get over it, people. The stadium money and the classroom money come from two, by law, separate pots of money. Find a different dead horse to flog.

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lucy1 4 years, 1 month ago

I’m sure Loveland and Morgan for saw the change in the economy, and ran for the school board so they could line their pockets or help a friend. Get real, no one has made a difference in these neighborhood in last 25 year . Now, it’s so bad people will not buy there. New York once had an enrollment above the current 175 or so students, now it does not. WHY? No one wants to live there. Residents on New York street even send their children to other Lawrence schools, rather than the neighborhood school . closing the school will have little effect on home values, except to maybe make them more affordable to any wanting to risk it.

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xeniahawk 4 years, 1 month ago

Seems like our bureaucratic heavy administration laden system is imploding yet they continue to trot out bond issues and the masses keep voting them in without any accountability. Didn't this band of bureaucrats just find enough money to build two brand new football stadiums and redo the astroturf at Free State baseball stadium????? Seems like there is plenty of money to go around but when the state starts tightening down, then the talk turns to laying off teachers, closing down schools and eliminating bus service, yet we have the millions for new sports facilities. Maybe, just a thought, we could eliminate all of the administrators at McDonald Drive that make more than the governor of Kansas in annual salary. We could then easily find the money since no one is holding them accountable anyway!!! While we are at it, let's get a whole new school board that has more sense and has the courage to stand up to these mealy mouthed administrators who double talk their way into justifying their own jobs without any care for the children of our district.

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