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?


Richard Heckler 7 years 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!

Richard Heckler 7 years 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 7 years 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.

greywolf85203 7 years ago


Richard Heckler 7 years 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 7 years 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?

greywolf85203 7 years ago

The same annonomous person that gave them the money for the stadium to begin with. Must be nice to donate money with a condition attached when times are tough and that money could do more good helping children learn. If you put all the money in the sports who will play in a few years when our dropout rate has doubled due to lack of education in public schools. There are more and more students falling through the cracks thanks to lack of funds.

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

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

GardenMomma 7 years ago

I don't fear them. I skip over them. That whole "blind faith in patriotic.. " blah, blah, blah spiel he's posted on three different articles already. Kind of loses it's impact after awhile.

I just skip all his comments that are longer than two or three sentences.

Corey Williams 7 years ago

The 2nd linkbot has woken. Fear his mad copy/paste skillz!

Stephen Roberts 7 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.

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

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

Cogito_Ergo_Es 7 years ago

That's one post of yours, I will support! There is no way anyone with a child at Wakarusa or anyone that owns property over this 80 sq. mile region south of K-10 will vote in favor of a bond issue if the board decides to close a perfectly good building like Wakarusa. This whole consolidation subject is a joke. No one will vote for it, especially anyone from SONS. They know good and well if they act like they're in favor of it, it only buys them time until a new SONS heavy board comes on. Wake up School Board! Those of you that think a bond issue will pass are seriously deluded. The people want their tax money back in their pockets once the current bonds are retired and more importantly they all want their neighborhood schools! The people of Hillcrest, Cordley, Pinckney, etc. aren't going to touch that bond issue with a 10 foot pole. Of course, by then Wakarusa will already have been sacrificed, but you all don't care do you, as long as your school stays open?

greywolf85203 7 years ago

I agree with you! Unfortunately there are a few board members that have a lets say "underlaying issue" with WV and are determined to close it or as they say "mothball it". It is a waste of money for the district. Want to save money then look at school days, remove a day make wednesday full day as nearly all the other schools in kansas have done. Most people don't know that we actually go longer than required hmm sounds like some money could be saved there. Too bad they already approved next years calender without looking at that.

greywolf85203 7 years ago

Merrill this is the first one I agree with. I will stand against any proposed bond issue. Since there are a number of them already on the books years old that have yet to be paid off. And I know of about 100 plus people that will also agree to vote NO to a bond issue. Times are tough there are people that are barely making ends meet. While others sit back and do little to nothing and recieve a nice paycheck. Keep that in mind when the bond issue comes around. There is no need to pass one when there are buildings in the district that can handle the student population now with little to no renovations.

Cai 7 years ago


You mean like the library?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.