Letters to the Editor

Closure questioned

April 2, 2011


To the editor:

I ask myself, “What is the best way to approach an important subject to me with someone who has no respect for others?” As co-chair to site council, active PTO member, volunteer and father to two great children, my answer was a letter to Superintendent Rick Doll.

Late Monday he strongly urged the school board to close Wakarusa Valley, once again leaving the emotional nightmare for parents and staff to deal with. Although he was there Tuesday morning, he was gone before classes began. I find it odd that one person would show up to console 197 students and 44 staff members. As if that isn’t enough, the very person who has pushed to close Wakarusa for two years shows up to offer support?

All along this has been his facade, “wanting what is best for students of our community.” Really? If he truly had their best interests in mind, there would have been “qualified counselors” and other concerned staff Tuesday morning, and he would not have been there. His behavior is condescending to those of us who have integrity, morals and an obligation to stand up for what is right. He should ask himself: “What would my mother think about the choices I make?” I, and many others, have lost all trust in Doll due to decisions he has made at the expense of USD 497 students.

We have many questions that need honest answers and we need to know. Who do we ask now?


Daniel Kennamore 7 years ago

I'm sure that having to change schools would be an inconvenience, but an 'emotional nightmare' that needs grief couciling? Come on.

Maddy Griffin 7 years ago

I'm sad whenever a school closes. Education is the ONLY way out of poverty. But I agree, It's not like it's a death in the family.

Jimo 7 years ago

What's the ratio of success to failure in high school dropouts?

A. 1:100,000 ? B. 1:1,000,000 ? C. 1:1,000,000,000 ?

May I suggest a quick survey at your nearest homeless shelter before picking?

And please, keep the examples to the modern world. No one needs to know whether Moses, the Buddha, Daniel Boone or Conan the Barbarian were high school graduates or not.

Clevercowgirl 7 years ago

Wrong. It is the death of our community school. One that serves 80 square miles. This is where our children make their lifelong friend with their "neighbors", and our parents have the chance to see each other. The school is the heart of our rural community. Take your insensitive comments to another post. We don't need to have our feelings disrespected by you.

xclusive85 7 years ago

Cowgirl, I grew up in a very rural community. You are spot on about the magnified importance of a school in rural communities as opposed to urban areas.

GMom05 7 years ago

To all you emotion bashers above, just because you could care less what school your child goes to, doesn't mean you have the right to dismiss our feelings. Our anger and loss are real and you can't know how strong those feelings are. They are also very personal. You simply cannot pass judgement on what are the "right" feelings to have in this situation. Just because members of our community choose to share their feelings about what they see as a horrible wrong, it is not an invitation for you to belittle them. Have a little empathy and consideration, please.

Clevercowgirl 7 years ago

I guess the nastys are out to play today. Actually, I have a great life, and so do my children. And you?

Synjyn Smythe 7 years ago

There is no more excuse for Doll's callous actions, than there is excuse for misleading the community and taskforce into believing that raising $3M from school closures was necessary when, in truth and in fact, there were sufficient funds available in the contingency funds to cover the entire shortfall. This is nothing more than an exercise in deception from Doll and your school board. VOTE!

Bob_Keeshan 7 years ago

Want to really save money?

Don't close schools, close school districts.

Douglas County has 8 school districts. Ridiculous.

Chris Neal 7 years ago

You cannot blame Doll for the closure of Wakarusa. Your district's school board hired him because of his philosophies which they believed fit with their philosophy and the district's. Besides the parents are the ones who encouraged the taskforce to survey the schools. In return the taskforce gave their suggestions, which was to close Wakarusa.

You cannot blame Dole for our government choosing to cut funding in education. The more they cut the more has to be cut from the school districts. Those of you upset with a community school being closed, I know it is sad. I also completed my k-12 education at a small community school. Now my nice community school is being consolidated with another one.

If you are that upset about what is happening with Lawrence Public Schools then get off the computer and call your legislatures and get some things done.

Synjyn Smythe 7 years ago

You either don't know Doll, or you are Doll!

Cogito_Ergo_Es 7 years ago

Ahh, but I can! The moment he walked in the door he wanted us shut down and he said as much. But how long he waited to see this day is beside the point. You in fact, miss the point. 1) Doll handpicked the task force and made it heavy with people he knew would support his position. 2) Doll proceeded to put on two members of the school board! So, they voted to close us then turned around and reported it all back to themselves at the next school board meeting. What?? 3) The taskforce was not originally charged with choosing schools to close. DOLL came up with that about two months ago. 4) Doll directed the taskforce to find $3M to close a budget gap that was not big enough to require the closure of schools. 5) Doll and his minions NEVER told the community that he had any idea where he'd find this $3M, short of closing schools, yet, Lo and Behold he manages to come up with $2.5M easy peasy at the March 28th meetings, needing coincidentally just $500K more which the closure of Wakarusa would cover.

I agree with the fact that Topeka is to blame for the budget cuts, but what you refuse to see is this closure was never about budget cuts. This was about shutting down the last rural school in Douglas County so they could open a new megamentary with 500 kids, with your property taxes and yet another bond issue. I do also blame the school board, for those that share his policies and not those of the people that elected them to office, and I blame those members that sat there and never questioned anything Doll fed them. HE works for THEM, yet they continually rubber stamp anything he sets in front of them. I am absolutely flabbergasted that they plan to renew his contract! If a fair and anonymous survey about the administration in USD 497 was circulated amoung teachers and principals, AND you let a fair and unbiased group coallate that information (instead of Doll's office), you'd see there is more fear in this district than respect or admiration. Doll needs to be on the next train out of here. The teachers and the schools in this district do very well, IN SPITE of Doll's administration and his board of puppets.

Jimo 7 years ago

"Emotional nightmare"?

Please. May your lives never know worse than this "nightmare."

Bob_Keeshan 7 years ago

Kansas should have bigger school districts. Closing districts does not equal busing, that is a false choice..

Close the administration buildings, not the schools.

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