Letters to the Editor

A closer look

January 29, 2010


To the editor:

In 1859, the namesake of Cordley School, Richard Cordley, was asked by neighbors to help a woman traveling along the Underground Railroad. Aware that U.S marshals were set on recapturing her, Cordley knew he would put his family in great danger if he decided to do what he felt was right and help her. In his autobiography, Cordley wrote, “It is easy to be brave a thousand miles away. But now I must face the issue at short range. … Theory and practice affect one very differently in a case like this. But I felt there was only one thing to do.” With the brave help of the Cordleys, this woman made her way north to Canada and freedom.

Today, Lawrence is faced with another difficult problem — how to deal with a serious school funding shortfall. In theory, this problem might appear like an immediate budget crisis, maintenance of buildings, and relative enrollments. But in practice, if we move closer and face these issues “at close range,” we see not only the dispassionate analysis but also the potential impact decisions might have on the long-term sustainability of our neighborhoods. At close range, the buildings reveal themselves to be neighborhood sanctuaries of memory and community, and relative enrollments become individual young people with names like Nicholai, Beatrice, and once, Langston Hughes.

I urge our elected school board members to face this issue “at close range” and partner with those fighting for our core neighborhoods and the schools at their heart.

Dave Loewenstein,



SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 2 months ago

Should our hearts stir with emotional sentimentality as Mr. Loewenstein invokes stories of old in an attempt to ignore fiscal responsibility?

And are we to assume the defenders of the status quo are comfortable with Mr. Loewentein's comparison of Lawrence schools to religious buildings? What else can be gathered from the not-so-subtle use of the term "neighborhood sanctuaries"?

mom_of_three 8 years, 2 months ago

The man was a minister, so his actions toward a runaway slave are not surprising, especially in Lawrence at the time.
I think he should have said that Cordley was once the President of the Lawrence School Board. Now, that may make the school board think twice about closing that school.

spiderd 8 years, 2 months ago

Maybe he's calling us animals, as in "animal sanctuary" StRS. Or... maybe there's even more meanings for the word.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 2 months ago

I am sure 70% or more of taxpayers would choose to support public education to the point where no teacher would need to purchase supplies necessary to reach the student.

Here is a possible tool to save the day. USD 497 needs too do something until the Kansas legislature does a 180.

Would you favor a sales tax increase to provide more money for Lawrence teacher salaries?

80% of 5,198 participants said yes! This number 5,198 is an extremely high response for any JW poll.

Why not organize around saving teacher salaries and the quality of USD 497? http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2003/mar/teacher_salaries/

The above USD 497 user fee would be far better than property owners taking a 10% hit on property values plus the city losing the revenue. Obviously USD 497 cannot afford to lose the revenue. What in the world is the USD 497 board thinking? The revenue lost will be made up somewhere mostly out of our wallets.

Not only that most all USD 497 schools are paid for not mention how much was spent improving New York School.

Yes Get rid of the extravagant admin building and put that money into the reckless expenditure aka new athletic facilities.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 2 months ago

CENTER FOR URBAN POLICY AND THE ENVIRONMENT DECEMBER 2003 A decision to close a school or a neighborhood police station may decrease the value of property in the neighbor- hood.

In public policy debates, moreover, decisionmakers often lack information about how their choices will affect property values.

Kirk McClure offered the same above concern suggesting a 10% loss on property values.

Who is Kirk McClure?

Education Ph. D., City Planning, University of California, Berkeley, Department of City and Regional Planning, 1985. Concentrations in Housing Economics and Public Finance.

Master in City Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, 1978. Specialization in Housing Policy Analysis.

Bachelor of Arts, University of Kansas, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 1974. Special Major in Urban Studies.

Bachelor of Architecture, Graduated With Distinction University of Kansas, School of Architecture and Urban Design, 1973.

LadyJ 8 years, 2 months ago

All schools are out Monday for Professional Development during which teachers will attend meetings at Freestate. What is professional development, why did school have to be canceled for it, and how much is it going to end up costing us?

LadyJ 8 years, 2 months ago

It's getting old wilbur, you're almost as tiresome as Merrill

honestone 8 years, 2 months ago

one eye... WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM with Cordley??? If you are willing to upgrade it for admin...what is the issue with upgrading it for the elementry school that it is? Did a Cordley teacher keep you after school long ago? Did someone p*&s in your cornflakes today too??

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