Letters to the Editor

Rural, urban

March 19, 2011


To the editor:

Lawrence’s school task force recommends closing Wakarusa Valley and eventually consolidating several urban schools. Of all schools discussed, WV requires the least structural investment, and purported savings are a small fraction of the budget shortfall. Because WV kids are spread across more than 51,000 acres, transporting them to other schools will require more than two hours each day on a bus — a steep price for a 5-year-old. Least quantifiable but real, the change for a child switching from a rural to an urban school is arguably greater than moving from one urban school to another. Certainly no two urban elementary schools are alike, but schools separated by blocks are more similar in feel than an urban vs. a rural school.

Downtown school advocates promote task force recommendations without mentioning any of these issues, the increased taxes required to fund their new schools or the greater savings realized if their schools were closed. The disproportionate suffering of WV kids, who will have their peer groups split up and be bused for hours to urban environments their parents pointedly chose to avoid — all to save a mere fraction of needed funds — is not acknowledged.

Once-unified cries of “don’t close our schools” have degenerated into “save my own school, even if closing others makes no fiscal sense and imposes insanely long bus rides on other people's kids.” Like eminent domain cases, WV families don’t have a choice. Unlike most eminent domain cases, this scenario results in no greater good. Why are we discussing one school closure in isolation from the other 87 percent of our budget woes?


Cai 3 years ago


You mean like the library?


Richard Heckler 3 years ago

Vote NO on any bond issue that might surface during this election!!!


commuter 3 years ago

I have a better idea. We need to tax lawn mowing businesses more. The people who own them have too much time on their hands. How about an additional $3 a gallon tax for gas, $1,000 to register their lawn mowing business and $50 per cut and paste response on the internet blogs. Merrill would be broke in no time or he would stop his cut & paste crap.


Les Blevins 3 years, 1 month ago

I have a proposal that I believe would allow us to keep all our schools open by providing a novel new means of public support of schools with funding that's not derived from taxation. My proposal would save county residents money, and the school districts to save money, and when coupled with added revenues that are not derived through taxation enough money could be made available to schools to keep all of them open and well funded. Plus my proposal would create some jobs for underemployed people who are getting pretty desperate about now. Email for more info.


Flap Doodle 3 years, 1 month ago

The linkbot has woken. Fear his mad copy/paste skillz!


celiaayers 3 years, 1 month ago

Coupon shopping should be serious business to? more people in this economy, new thing is collective buying check for the website "Printapons"


Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

Why not close the elegant admin headquarters and put that property on the market. Close the current USD 497 admin building and move the admin staff and BOE meeting room to Centennial. The gym is more than adequate for BOE meetings.

Put the large white elegant admin building on the market and move those funds into the USD 497 cookie jar. Why close schools?

On Feb 14 and Feb 28 the USD 497 BOE voted to approve nearly $1 million MORE dollars towards the ongoing the sports project for new bleachers and new items at Free State. Where's the money coming from?


Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

Save $3 million on busing? Something to think about:

USD 497 budgets $4-4.5 million to bus students. The district is charged at a daily rate depending on how many students use the transportation.

Parents would you be willing to find other means to get your students to school IF it meant keeping all the schools open,teachers employed and retaining important subject matter/programs?

Think car pooling,family members ,walking and biking.

USD 497 says it needs $3 million. Can WE come up with $3 million?

IF 75% of students were no longer bused: 75% of $4,000,000 = $3,000,000 (million)

75% of $4,500,000 = $3,375,000

We have the money. Why close schools?


Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

Public Schools are not failing.

No Child Left Behind was designed to make it appear that public schools are failing. No Child Left Behind is a political tool NOT a learning tool. A political tool to direct tax dollars into the bank accounts of corporate private schools.

No one is evaluating corporate private schools using the same measuring technique. In fact no one is measuring corporate private schools.

Therefore the deduction claiming public schools are failing is useless. There is no hard evidence based on a fair and equal environment.


Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

The Task Force refined many recommendations, goals and thoughts down to 12 basic criteria or goals that we used in reaching consensus and which we believe should be used going forward .

The district should: • Fully utilize elementary school locations before constructing new schools at new locations, • Plan for a capacity of approximately 300 to 500 students at all elementary schools, • Plan for equity in terms of learning environments across the district, • Plan for all‐day kindergarten at all schools in the future, • Eliminate all portables at elementary schools, • Plan for flexibility to accommodate changes to programs in the future, • Plan for investment to address aging facilities, • Deploy services in a differentiated manner such that all schools receive the services and programs they need, • Strive to create and maintain schools that embody such a community that every school is a community school, • Ensure that as many children as possible are able to walk or bike to school if they choose to do so, • Incorporate best practices that research suggests have a greater impact on student achievement than school and class size, • Plan to provide minimum 720 square foot classrooms for grades 1‐5 and 900 square foot classrooms for Kindergarten in existing schools.


Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

Blind Government loyalty is NOT patriotic!

Questioning government authority daily is patriotic!

Blind government loyalty is dangerous to OUR democracy,Our quality of life and OUR tax dollars!

Don't get duped again!


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