Letters to the Editor

Our school

January 15, 2010


To the editor:

I echo Karl Ramberg’s ideal that we are our schools. When we took my daughter to Cordley for kindergarten roundup 22 years ago, someone wanted to take a Polaroid picture of her. The flash went off, she freaked out, and we decided to check out New York School. A west-side friend had told me it “wasn’t a very good school.” What she meant was that it had 80 percent free-and-reduced lunch students in a poor neighborhood and the building was on the decline.

I ended up being the PTO president for a couple of years and was lucky enough to welcome Sharen Steele to the school when she started her 15 years of being principal. That’s when the transformation began. That’s when the pride seeped back into the halls. That’s when the grants started to flow, the building got serious maintenance attention and a new gym was built. That’s when my kids and grandkids got their New York Nova T-shirts.

Our family and neighborhood history reside in that building. We are New York School. Close some other pile of brick and mortar if you must. Do not mess with OUR neighborhood.


uneekness 8 years, 2 months ago

"Close some other pile..."

How about Langston Hughes? The savings from salaries and administration might close most of the budget gap. Renegotiate the bond payments to get a two or thee year delay to close the rest of the gap.

At least residents in that area will know that their school will reopen someday.

Think this idea will see the light of day at a board meeting?

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 2 months ago

Like the letter says, no one likes a poor person, yet expect them to better themselves. If I call you garbage often enough, you will prove me wrong, is that the thinking? No. Doesn't work like that. Thank you Charles and those like you who actually do something to help children reach their potential. It is stunning to see those little faces aglow with the eagerness to learn as they start out and then see those same faces dull when they are forced to realize that those hopes are not going to be realized.

mr_right_wing 8 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, I'd never let my kid go to a school where flash photography is tolerated either. Good point.

Flash photography == really really bad school

Richard Heckler 8 years, 2 months ago

I like your approach Mr Gruber..... so forth coming. This building os one of the most beautiful school buildings in our city. That new gym a but a few years old which was added after the last school closing decided it best to keep it open.

New York School is home to many students who would have attended East Heights. Class size at New York is perfect for target neighborhoods. $6000 per student provides $750,000 to support this school each year.

New York School building is paid for = a valuable asset to any city. I would estimate that most all USD 497 elementary school buildings are paid for.

Is USD 497 maintaining these buildings appropriately? I think USD 497 needs a full time financial watch dog group. You decide: http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2007/oct/how_should_school_district_pay_20_million_maintena/

Richard Heckler 8 years, 2 months ago

At one meeting it was noted by school officials that some larger Lawrence elementary schools cost about $3800 to educate each student. Whereas one smaller east side schools cost about $6000. USD 497 has been receiving more than $6000 per student by way of Topeka.

Apparently larger schools are not spending the money provided to educate students which provides about a $2200 surplusX500 Langston Hughes students = $1,100,000 surplus. Moving those surplus funds to 125 New York School students provides another $8,800 per student which in reality reduces the cost of educating New York Students to zero. Actually creates a rather large surplus.

Langston Hughes only cost USD 497 approximately $3800 per student according to school officials

Again USD 497 receives at least $6000 per Student no matter how many students are in what school. USD 497 receives $750,000 annually to operate New York School for 125 students. Teachers are likely being paid $29,000 to $40,000 a year ….. not a great deal of money.

There is no way USD 497 is losing money. Lawrence is not losing money because New York School has the ultimate class size for so called lower income at risk neighborhoods.

Also bear in mind USD 497 has been encouraging retirement of tenured teaching staff over the past several years thus reducing the cost of operation substantially.

Want to raise money? Sell the extravagant USD 497 admin building? A real estate deal that never should have happened.

Sell the admin building to help offset the cost of running all of the new athletic facilities. How much does that increase the cost of operations?

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