Letters to the Editor

Valuable property

February 23, 2010


To the editor:

Lawrence school district facility-closing ideas have failed to focus on the building with the greatest commercial value. Closed schools, when a buyer can be found, are generally sold at a loss. However, 110 McDonald Drive formerly housed businesses.

It was a different era when voters passed bond issues to move the administrative offices. It was a different era when administrators were chosen because they were master teachers. This may be a time when the district lacks funds for specialized administrators in their own building.

Closing the administrative office building would doubly benefit taxpayers when the building is sold and also when the land is put back on the tax rolls. The administrative offices could move to one or several “underutilized” schools. Students would benefit from the availability of a larger network and a wider variety of adult role models. We can align the interests of taxpayers and students, and still save money without closing any neighborhood schools.


Richard Heckler 8 years ago

Yes to selling this property. Absolutely. USD 497 needs to get out of the real estate buisness and maintain existing structures.

Put that new land purchase on the market or simply don't close on the deal. The previous land owner should donate the profits back to USD 497.... do your civic duty!

USD 497 should NEVER have to buy land. Developers need to set aside property after all it is the developers creating the need AND public school buildings increase the value of their money making venture. No land no school building,park or fire stations!!!

Move the admin into the virtual school building.

Need Transparency http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2010/feb...

Apparently there are some BOE and/or staff that are refusing to open the books completely to some obviously talented parents who know accounting. What's up with this?

This is known as stonewalling. It also creates the perception that the district is hiding some facts from those who have every right to see aka USD 497 taxpayers.

Is USD 497 cooking the books,spending money in the wrong places or what?

WE taxpayers need to know.

If this questionable perception is not real then open the books so taxpayers can put it to rest. Nothing wrong with transparency. It promotes a healthy image.

This matter came up again today(Sunday) in conversation. If my memory serves we well this topic received mention in a letter to the editor as well.

beaujackson 8 years ago

"Figures lie & Liars figure" describes 497 administration.

gl0ck0wn3r 8 years ago

"Richard babbled: Is USD 497 cooking the books,spending money in the wrong places or what?"

Richard, are you accusing people of fraud? It sure seems like you are through the quote above. Is Richard an alcoholic or just incorrect all the time? See how that works?

rtwngr 8 years ago


As much as this galls me, to no end, I have to agree with Merrill on having a look at the books. That's it though. Don't get a big head there, Mr. Cut and Paste. I don't agree on the whole "donate the profits" thing.

The USD 497 administration needs to be transparent and held accountable.

KsTwister 8 years ago

Like I keep saying,"there ought to be a Law"....to the truth.

Stephen Roberts 8 years ago

This idea is interesting. can someone explain how much could be saved??

Well the sale of the building would have some capital outlay money to the capital outlay budget.

Moving the administration into one of the existing schools would decrease utilties etc but the amount does not seem like $5 million.

Where would the rest of the savings needed to balance the budget come from??

mr_right_wing 8 years ago

Internet can be the answer here. Close down some schools and really push the 'virtual school' program. Providing families in need with high-speed internet and the needed computer(s) would be so much cheaper than the upkeep on all of these buildings. We'd probably also have to turn some staff loose; but speaking from a budget standpoint the district is a sinking ship. More and more people are working from home, just yesterday the LJW had a story that half the enrollment for one of the state colleges is online students. The year is 2010, maybe we're not colonizing mars, but let's not under use the technology we do possess.

puckstah 8 years ago

mr_right-wing: Your repeated arguments about pushing virtual school seem more than a little uninformed....

It appears you know little about the Virtual School. They put assignments online for students to do at home with their BOOKS, and the curriculum is purchased from yet another publisher - there's no content provided online, no dynamic learning methods, no instructional or user-centered design, and interaction with other students learning the same material???? who knows.

Parents who homeschool their children work with these kids, or the students can go get assistance from teachers during certain hours at Centennial School. Where is the art, PE, music, gifted services, group learning, service learning, theater/drama/communications classes, special education services and RECESS, for goodness sakes? These are only a few of the additional elements of a comprehensive education.

How would your great idea of "virtual school for all" work for elementary age children from single-parent families or from families where both parents work? What about families that don't have or can't afford internet? What kids with disabilities or who are English Language Learners?

The Virtual School meets the needs of some students(most are from outside of Lawrence), and it certainly makes USD 497 a lot of money that central administration doesn't want to use to defray the costs of educating students in the Lawrence district.

Please stop your rant - it's painfully ill-informed and ill-conceived.

Frank Hays 8 years ago

I love this idea! Why should our children continue to have to inhabit some of these old out of date buildings. Cut all of the administrators' salaries in half (after laying off half of these overpaid bureaucrats) and move them into the old Riverside school.

Hopefully the board will put this proposal on the table and seriously consider it if they are truly considering all options. While they are at it, maybe all of the administrators should have to walk to McDonald Drive if they live within 2.5 miles of the administration building after a snow storm with unshoveled walks and leave their vehicles at home like they have forced our kids to have to endure this winter.

parrothead8 8 years ago

Yes...sell this building. Put the administrators who are actually necessary (yeah, I know that's probably an oxymoron) IN the schools. The administrators gain perspective, the school district "gains" what it already has: open schools giving students a good education.

Or...get rid of the administrators who spent all the money and budgeted so poorly in the first place. It's ridiculous that a "school" district has to close schools. The schools are the only things that matter in the "school" district. It's ridiculous that students will suffer, and not administrators. The students will never, ever get another chance to get the next year of their education back.

I bet if we divided the money the school district gets equally amongst the teachers to be used in their classrooms, we'd be shocked at how much better an education the kids would get.

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